Physical vs. Legal Custody in Missouri

Two Different Parts of a Broader Term

Child custody is an important matter that must be resolved in any divorce involving children. In Missouri, child custody is divided into two primary components: physical and legal. Each part revolves around a different responsibility for the child in question. Read on to learn the basics of each aspect of child custody in Missouri.

Physical Custody

When people think of child custody, they often think of which parent the child will live with. In Missouri, this is called physical custody. Physical custody can be either joint or sole. Joint physical custody means that both parents have significant periods of time with the child. This can be equal or close to equal time, depending on the situation. Sole physical custody means that the child lives with one parent and has visitation with the other.

Missouri courts prefer to award joint physical custody whenever possible unless there is a compelling reason not to. This is because joint physical custody allows both parents to be involved in their child's life and helps to maintain strong relationships between the child and both parents.

Legal Custody

Legal custody is the right to make major decisions about your child. This includes decisions about their education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. If you have joint legal custody, you will need to consult with the other parent before making any decisions. However, if you have sole legal custody, you will be the one making all of the decisions about your child's life. While this may seem like a lot of responsibility, it is important to remember that you are the one who knows your child best and what is best for them.

The Help of a Child Custody Attorney

Child custody issues can be emotional to work through, as no one wants to lose time with their children. At Rutter and Sleeth Law Offices, our child custody attorneys can help you protect your rights to be a parent and secure a result that meets your needs and the needs of your child both now and in the future.

Learn more about child custody in Missouri or schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys by calling us at (573) 279-1349 or by visiting our website.