The main concern of either party when facing a divorce, is whether or not they will lose their children in the process. This is obviously a common fear because parents naturally want to keep their children close. The truth of the matter is that divorce is a big transition, one that requires an legal agreement that discusses matters of support, custody, property division and much more. When the court make their final custody ruling, it won't be based on an emotional bias against the mother or father, rather it will be based on the best interests of the children. Every child custody case is unique with different factors or specifics and a variety of custody arrangements can be reached such as sole custody, physical custody, legal custody and joint custody. If you are worried about you child custody rights and are fearful of losing custody of your children in the divorce, be sure to speak with a Kansas City divorce attorney here at The Reynolds Law Firm, LLC.
Joint Custody vs. Sole Custody
Custody and visitation rights are a major issue, the court is not permitted to show preference to either the mother or the father but rather to protect the rights of the children involved. Depending on your current situation, the court may decide to award you both joint custody of the children or may decide to award one parent full custody and give visitation rights to the other. If you and the other parent are awarded joint physical custody of the children, then in essence you are being given equal time-sharing privileges. In cases where you are both awarded joint legal custody, that means that you can both have the authority to make important legal decisions on behalf of the child. With sole physical custody being awarded to one parent, the other parent will be given specific visitation privileges approved by the court. Lastly, with sole legal custody the one parent is the only one who holds the authority to make decisions for the children. These decisions include where the children will go to school? What religious influences the children will be exposed to? What primary doctor the children will have? What extracurricular activities will the children participate in?
The court could also decide on a combination of these custody arrangements. You could end up with joint physical and joint legal, joint physical and sole legal, joint legal and sole physical, or sole custody and sole legal. In some cases there is also the possibility of third-party custody or visitation. This is when a grandparent or close family member is allotted custody or visitation because the court considers it to be in the best interests of the children. This typically only happens in the event that both parents are either seen as either unfit to be parents or have gone missing or deceased.
If you are worried that the court will prohibit you spending time with your children, then it is vital that you demonstrate to them that you are equally capable to provide for your children. An experience family law and divorce attorney can help present your case in court. Whether you and the other parent reach a child custody agreement or whether the court issues a custody ruling, the custody arrangement will affect your family long after the divorce process is over. Divorce is tough on children, that is why the court will do everything in their power to ensure that the custody agreement helps make the transition as easy as humanly possible. As long as you are not seen as an unfit parent, then there is a good chance that you and your spouse may be awarded 50/50 custody and that is typically the arrangement that the courts prefer.
How is child custody determined?
When deliberating and negotiating a child custody arrangement, the court will look at multiple factors and will ultimately choose the option that best fits the best interests of the children. Some of the common determining factors include:
- The proposed custody plan agreed on by the parents
- The needs of the children and the ability of each parent to meet those needs
- The relationship that the child has with each parent
- Whether or not the parent will allow frequent contact and visits with the other parent
- The total adjustment that the children will have to make at home, at school and in the community
- The mental and physical health of each party
- Whether or not there is a history of physical violence or abuse
- The intention of either party to relocate
- The wishes and preferences of the children
These determining factors are clearly listed in the Missouri state statutes section 452.375.
Need an attorney for a child custody case in Kansas City, MO?
If you are concerned that the court will rule against you and keep you from spending time with your children in the event of a divorce, then you will greatly benefit from the sound legal counsel of a Kansas City divorce attorney from The Reynolds Law Firm, LLC. With more than 40 years of combined experience, you can count on attorneys at our firm to protect your child custody rights and to provide trustworthy legal advice in your time of need. Our firm believes that you deserve the very best and we will offer our full attention to your case. We are knowledgeable and compassionate problem solvers, so let us help you during this difficult time. Contact a Kansas City divorce lawyer from our firm to schedule a case evaluation today!