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Child Custody Agreement Missouri

Child Custody Agreement in Missouri: What You Need to Know

Child custody is a sensitive and complicated matter that can arise in the course of a divorce or separation. When parents cannot agree on the arrangements for their children, they may need to seek court intervention to establish a custody order that meets the best interests of their kids. In Missouri, child custody is governed by state law, which outlines the factors that judges consider when making custody decisions and the types of custody available to parents.

If you are facing a child custody dispute in Missouri, it’s crucial to understand the legal framework that applies to your case. In this article, we will walk you through the essential aspects of child custody agreement in Missouri.

Types of Custody in Missouri

In Missouri, the court can award either legal custody or physical custody or both to one or both parents, depending on the circumstances of the case. Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility to make important decisions regarding the child`s welfare, such as education, health care, religion, and extracurricular activities. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child will live and spend most of their time. Here are the different types of custody available in Missouri:

1. Sole Custody: One parent has both legal and physical custody of the child, and the other parent has no parenting time or decision-making authority.

2. Joint Legal Custody: Both parents share legal custody of the child, meaning they have equal rights and responsibilities to make decisions for the child`s welfare.

3. Joint Physical Custody: Both parents share physical custody of the child, meaning they have roughly equal parenting time and responsibilities for the child`s care.

4. Split Custody: The court awards custody of some children to one parent and the others to the other parent, usually based on the children`s preferences or needs.

Factors Considered in Custody Decisions

When making custody decisions in Missouri, the court considers many factors to determine the best interests of the child. Some of these factors include:

1. The child`s age, gender, and physical and mental health.

2. The child`s relationship with each parent, siblings, and other significant people in the child`s life.

3. Each parent`s ability to provide for the child`s needs, including food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education, and emotional support.

4. Each parent`s willingness to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent.

5. Each parent`s mental and physical health, including any history of substance abuse, domestic violence, or criminal activities.

6. The child`s school, community, and extracurricular activities.

7. Any other relevant factors that affect the child`s well-being.

Creating a Custody Agreement

If you and the other parent can agree on custody arrangements, you can create a parenting plan that outlines the details of your agreement. The parenting plan should include the following information:

1. The type of custody awarded to each parent, including legal and physical custody.

2. The schedule for parenting time, including weekdays, weekends, holidays, and summer vacations.

3. The transportation arrangements for exchanging the child between the parents` homes.

4. The procedures for making decisions about the child`s welfare, including communication and dispute resolution.

5. The provisions for child support and other financial obligations.

6. Any other relevant information that you want to include in the agreement.

The parenting plan should be in writing, signed by both parents, and submitted to the court for approval. Once the court approves the agreement, it becomes a binding court order that both parents must follow.


Child custody disputes can be emotionally charged and stressful, but with the right information and guidance, you can navigate the process. If you are considering or going through a child custody case in Missouri, consult an experienced family law attorney to help you protect your rights and interests. With their help, you can find a custody agreement that works best for your family and ensures your child`s well-being.