If you are headed toward a divorce, and you have children with your soon-to-be-ex, you will need to address child custody in the near future. As a general rule, the Missouri family courts encourage joint custody, but in some divorce cases, such an arrangement is not in the child’s best interests for safety reasons.
Are you concerned about sharing custody of your children? Do you believe this would be a bad idea because your spouse is abusive, has a severe mental illness, has a substance abuse problem, is sexually abusive, or runs around with known criminals, which could place your child in harm’s way? If so, you may plan on seeking sole custody of your children.
Your Child’s Welfare is Important
Perhaps your spouse abuses you or your child. Perhaps he or she is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Or, perhaps they are suffering from a severe mental illness. If any of the above is true, the problem may be the reason why you’re getting a divorce or one of the major reasons behind the split.
If your children’s safety and welfare are at stake for any reason, and if giving your spouse “joint custody” would place your child in harm’s way, a custody arrangement where you have sole custody of your children may be the safest solution. If you have a safety concern, we assure you, the family court will want to hear about it.
The family courts are interested in all circumstances that can endanger children, or affect their best interests. If you are alleging neglect or abuse, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent your child’s best interests.
If you have special circumstances in your child custody case, you should not handle it alone. The Missouri courts advise that you consult with an attorney. “This is very important if there has been domestic violence or concerns about child abuse or neglect,” according to the Missouri Courts.