Despite what many people believe, St. Louis courts do not favor the mother or the father in child custody cases. According to state law, both parents are entitled to an unbiased chance to secure custody of their minor children in cases of custody disputes or divorce.
While the law might not require bias, individual judges might have their own views that impact the outcome of these cases. Some judges might be more likely to award custody to a mother instead of a father, all other things equal. In these situations, it is critical to have strong legal counsel on your side.
A St. Louis child custody lawyer could help you make the best possible case for custody of your minor child. At the J. Rench Law Firm, LLC, our team is ready to serve as your advocate while you fight for the relationship with your children that you deserve.
How are Custody Issues Resolved in St. Louis?
While a judge will not give preference to the mother, there is a standard the courts must use in these cases. According to Missouri custody laws, the court must consider the best interests of the children when determining custody. This includes determining which parent will have or how both parents will share decision-making responsibilities for the health, education, and welfare of the children, known as legal custody. The court must also decide where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent, known as physical custody.
There are a few factors the courts take into account when deciding what is in a child’s best interest. These factors include:
- Medical needs of the child
- Wishes of the parents
- Wishes of the child in some cases
- The interaction between parents and child
- History of domestic abuse
- History of chemical abuse
- The likelihood one parent allows meaningful contact with another
Can a Mother and Father Decide Custody Issues on Their Own?
Both parents have the right to pursue custody of their minor children without bias regarding their gender. However, that does not mean that the parties can unilaterally agree on a child custody arrangement. Once a custody case begins, the outcome is solely in the hands of the judge overseeing the case.
As discussed previously, the court must award custody based on the best interest of the child involved in the dispute. In some cases, the child’s best interests might not align with the wishes of either parent. For that reason, the court will not let both parties come to an agreement for a child’s custody arrangement if the judge does not believe it is in the best interest of the child.
Can a Mother Modify Child Custody Orders in St. Louis?
It is possible to modify these arrangements with a motion to modify child support. Either parent has the right to pursue a motion with modification in mind. If it is a minor change that both parties agree with, the chances are good the judge will sign of. If there is a dispute over this change, it could result in a custody battle that the judge must decide.
A court will not upend a child custody order on a whim. Instead, a judge will look for a material change in circumstances that requires the alteration. On in cases where circumstances have changed will the court consider a modification?
Talk to the J. Rench Law Firm, LLC About Your Custody Case in St. Louis
Even though courts have traditionally favored mothers over fathers in custody cases, the law does not reflect this bias. In recent years, courts are more likely than ever to make a custody decision based on the facts of the case as opposed to the gender of either parent.
If you are involved in a custody dispute, you could benefit from a discussion with a Child Custody Attorney right away. The team at J. Rench Law Firm, LLC is here to fight for you during this difficult time. Reach out as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation with our firm.
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