Joplin, MO asked in Child Custody for Missouri

Q: Confused on how custody judgment granted both sole and joint custody

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1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Fink
Christopher Fink
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: In Missouri there are 2 primary categories of custody...physical and legal.

Physical custody deals with each parties "parenting time" with the child; or if Sole Physical Custody is granted, then the term "visitation" is used for the non-custodial parent's time with the child.

Legal Custody describes the rights of the parents as to legal decisions, such as educational, medical, extracurricular, etc.

The presumed "best interest of the child" custody arrangement is going to be granting the parents Joint Physical and Joint Legal Custody. If a party believes it is in the best interest of the child that they be awarded Sole Physical and/or Sole Legal Custody, then the burden of proof falls on that requesting party to convince the court. And if certain issues exist, then a Judge could award Sole Physical and Sole Legal Custody, or alternatively it could be any combination. For example if the court finds that the parties just do not have the capability to communicate, then perhaps Joint Physical Custody and Sole Legal Custody might be in the child's best interest, or alternatively Joint Physical to both parents, but Sole Legal Custody to one parent.

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