This example illustrates that the court will not automatically award joint legal and custody rights to both parents if it detracts from the child’s best wishes.
The courts factor a lot into deciding custody. Every variable, however, is weighed against one single point, the best interests of the child. Except in extreme cases, the court will attempt to create a parenting plan that involves both parents, granting joint legal and custodial rights to both parents. There are times, though, when this is unfortunately not an option. If one parent can reasonably be proven to be unfit, or if the court can be shown that co-parenting is unattainable by the parties, the court may award sole legal and potentially custodial rights to one parent.
An Example of Why Compromise is Important
In Bowers v. Bowers, No. ED 103176, 2017 WL 2822506 (Mo. Ct. App. June 30, 2017) the court awarded sole legal and custodial rights to the father of the marriage’s child. In the abovementioned case, his father, Jason, was listed as the child’s father. However, a third party, Steven, was the actual biological father. The child’s mother, Jessica, was seeking a parenting plan that awarded her sole legal and joint custody of their child. Steven was found to be unfit and awarded no rights as a parent. Further, Jessica’s conduct during the trial was found to be so unbecoming that the court did not believe she would honor a court-ordered visitation. Due to Jessica’s actions, Jason was awarded sole legal and custody of the marriage’s child.
The above example illustrates that while the court is firm in its belief that a child greatly benefits from co-parenting, they will not automatically award joint legal and custody rights to both parents if it detracts from the child’s best wishes.
Contact a St. Louis Family Law Attorney
A trusted St. Louis family law attorney can advise you on how best to approach your custody dispute. This can help ensure that you preserve your parental rights and provide your child the opportunity to thrive. Contact your trusted Missouri lawyer if you are about to be involved in a custodial dispute.
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