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Big changes may be in store for child custody laws

54427908_S.jpgThe state of Missouri is considering making changes to the way the courts handle child custody arrangements. Currently, courts usually award more child custody time to one parent, while the other has a set schedule for visitation. A new bill making it's way through the state legislature aims to even out the amount of time spent with a child between both parents. 

Those who endorse the bill cite research that supports the theory that children who spend equal time with both biological parents have a decreased risk for troubles like substance abuse, getting into legal trouble and depression. Supporters say that the changes will come at no cost for a parent, and by changing the way the law handles child custody, both parents will have an equal chance to raise their children and be an active part of their lives. The National Parents Organization has provided backing for the new legislation, and hopes that the bill will soon become Missouri law. 

The bill hopes to establish a new norm for child custody orders, where children would split their time between the homes of both biological parents. When possible, a child would spend one week with the mother, and the next with the father, alternating back and forth to ensure both parents have equal physical access to the child. Under current law, even parents with joint custody may not have equal parenting time. The purpose of the new legislation is to even out the time spent with each parent as much as possible, with the goal of making sure children are allowed to have meaningful relationships with both parents. 

When it comes to child custody issues, it is important for a parent to be sure they know their rights under the law. If a parent decides they would like to modify their child custody order, or have one put into place, it can be helpful to seek the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to help a parent understand his or her rights and responsibilities where the client's children are involved, and help make sure that any children involved have the best possible chance of maintaining a close and loving relationship with both parents. 

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