Family Law & Immigration Attorneys
Types of Child Custody in Missouri

Types of Child Custody in Missouri

Many parents facing the prospect of divorce worry about what the courts will decide regarding child custody and visitation. Family law can also be quite daunting when you try to look up the information yourself. Each state has similar guidelines regarding child custody decisions. The following are the different types of custody you might hear in court or from your attorney.

Legal Custody

Often, parents will share legal custody with each other. This means they will both make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Schooling, religion, medical care, dental care, and extracurricular activities will be decided by both parents.

Physical Custody

Usually, one parent will be awarded physical custody, meaning the child will live primarily at his or her home. However, courts have split physical and legal custody between parents if it is in the child’s best interest. Joint physical custody works best when the parents live nearby, so it’s less stressful on the child.

Sole Custody

In cases where one parent is absent from the divorce process entirely or is completely unfit to be a parent, the other parent will be awarded sole custody of the child. This means both physical and legal custody belongs to one parent, and he or she is ultimately responsible for the child’s upbringing. Courts dislike awarding sole custody to one parent unless the other parent clearly is irresponsible. The other parent will still likely be granted visitation time with his or her kid.

Joint Custody

Joint custody happens when parents share the decision-making responsibilities and physical custody of their children. They usually work out a schedule taking their work hours into account in addition to their housing arrangements and the child’s needs. If the parents can’t agree on a plan, the court will arrange it for them.

Bird’s Nest Custody

Bird’s nest custody is the type of arrangement where the children remain in their home, and the parents take turns moving in and out of the home, spending time in a separate place of their own when they are not living with their children. This type of custody allows a sense of location stability for the children, as they are not shuttled from one place to another.

If you’re curious about how child custody will be decided by the court, talk to one of our skilled St. Charles divorce attorneys in a case consultation. Our firm, Smith Law Offices, LLC, has more than 20 years of combined legal experience helping Missouri families with their legal issues. Let us see what we can do for you.

Call us at (636) 400-1177 or fill out our online form to schedule a conversation with us today.

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