In Missouri, divorcing parents are typically given some sort of custody over their children. There are a few different kinds of custody, and each one grants parents different rights and responsibility. Understanding the different kinds of child custody can be hugely beneficial when you and your ex are settling divorce agreements.
In Missouri, paying child support is implemented by both the court system and the Office of Child Support Enforcement. The parent who does not have custody of the child must pay a certain amount, as stated by the court, to the custodial parent. Generally, this amount is based on each parent's income, with the goal to leave neither is poverty. However, when the paying parent is incarcerated, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to still collect child support.
Determining child custody is generally considered the toughest part of the divorce process. Each parent may want greater custody than the other, or one parent may worry that the other, who is unfit to raise a child, may be granted too much visitation. Missouri has laws that dictate child custody arrangements that are helpful in this negotiation process.
Custody arrangements after a divorce can come in all sorts of forms. The most common and well-known is joint custody. In this arrangement, one parent will generally keep the children for most of the time, while the other gets to see them for a few days out of the week (typically weekends). The parents still share financial and often legal responsibility of the children, however.
Missouri laws pertaining to child custody and visitation rights have evolved over the years to recognize that more is involved in these cases than just deciding where a child will live and how many times a month the noncustodial parent will visit with him or her. The fact that a child's parents have made a decision to end their relationship does not mean that either of them should have more or less rights and responsibilities in raising the child than should the other.
It is an expected, even desired outcome that couples with children who have gone through a divorce should be able to move on with their lives. Part of moving on after a divorce can involve the desire of a custodial parent to relocate and to retain custody; this can take place for different reasons, such as remarriage, or new employment.
After a Missouri court grants legal custody to a parent or joint custody to both parents in a divorce, separation, or child custody proceeding, disputes might later arise between the parents. When this happens, the court that granted the original order is usually the one that retains jurisdiction over the matter.