Child Custody Laws and Agreements

Child CustodyIn the state of Missouri, child custody documents are also called parenting plans. Even though child custody issues most frequently arise from divorce, the demand for qualified legal representation can arise out of many other situations: A Child custody case can result from abuse or neglect; a minor child has been removed from the care of their primary care giver; or a minor has been removed from the care of an elder parent. The court will consider all relevant factors concerning the welfare of the minor child and in determining the best interests of the minor child, including considering the mental capacity, maturity, habits, education, values and associations of the minor child. The court’s inquiry into these issues will then determine if the placement of the child with someone else will interfere with the welfare of the minor child.


Frequently, parents who are fighting over a St. Louis child custody agreement make mistakes that end up damaging their case. These mistakes can result in the dismissal of their case by the judge. Common mistakes include: failing to adequately explain the custody dispute to the judge; stating information that is not supportive; or stating information about the custody dispute that is inadmissible. In cases where these mistakes occur, it is important to hire a St. Louis family lawyer who has experience dealing with divorce and custody cases. For more information about child custody agreements, check out


When one parent has sole physical custody of the children, and that parent opposes shared physical custody, the parent who has the highest physical custody is likely to have the greatest influence on the child. In cases where the children are residing with more than one parent, the judge will take into consideration the preferences of both parents. He or she will issue a temporary custody order that specifies which parent the child will live with on a regular basis. However, in a St. Louis visitation order, one parent does not automatically have the right to retain sole physical custody of the child.


St. Louis child custody orders are written based on the individual facts of each case. Therefore, it is extremely important to review the entire custody agreement before you submit it for signature. Be sure to read through it several times to make sure you understand it. If you have any questions, your attorney can help you through this process. You will also want to check with the court to see if there are any stipulations included in the custody agreement that may have an impact on your ability to retain custody of the children. Some of these stipulations include a time schedule for visitation, a holiday schedule, or any other arrangement that the court feels is in the best interests of the child.


Most importantly, review the custody agreement yourself before you sign it. St. Louis child custody cases are decided by the circuit court. Although the court will allow for the most reasonable and fair agreements, they do not always have the final say. Signing the agreement without fully understanding it may result in the courts impounding the children for failure to comply with the terms of the agreement.


There are a number of other steps you can take when you have been unable to come to an agreement regarding your custody and visitation. If you feel you were unfairly disadvantaged by another party’s inability to agree with your parenting plan, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a Missouri family lawyer. Family lawyers are well trained in family law matters, including child custody, and will review your case with your attorney to determine if there is a likelihood of winning your case. If the attorney feels your rights have been violated, he will seek to have those violations addressed in your court orders. In many instances, winning on the issue of parenting plans will require that the court take another course of action in order to maintain the status quo during any future disputes involving the parents.

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