Missouri child custody laws are found in the Missouri Revised Statutes in Section 452. These statutes contain the guidelines that lawmakers have developed to help protect the rights of the children and parents involved in a custody situation. Many of the rules concerning child custody affect how the custody and visitation schedule should be made. Parents should think about these rules as they create their schedule so they can be in compliance with the law. Here are some important points from the law that parents need to consider.
1. The child should have frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with both parents. Section 452 states very clearly that one of the needs the child has it to have a fulfilling relationship with both parents. This is accomplished by the child have frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with the mother and father. The custody and visitation schedule should reflect this standard, and parents should work together to make sure that this happens. This section also specifies that the parent who encourages the child to have this contact with the other parent is more likely to be granted custody of the child.
2. The relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant persons. The state deems it important (again in Section 452) that the child continue to be able to develop important relationships with parents, siblings and other persons in the child’s life. The custody schedule should be adjusted to fulfill this need. If a child has siblings at one parent’s home, the child should be granted time at that home to be with the siblings. Other significant people can include grandparents, aunts and uncles, good friends, etc. Parents should make the visitation schedule with this in mind.
3. The adjustment of the child to the child’s home, school, and community. This is an important factor that the court considers that affects the best interest of the child. Great care should be taken to accommodate this need in the visitation schedule. The child should be allowed to pursue interests in school and in the community. The custody schedule should not limit the child’s adjustment or place undue stress on the child to adapt to new situations. This issue must be resolved in the schedule.