Whenever possible, it is best for your child to have frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with both parents as well as other family members. To help accomplish this goal, Missouri requires a parenting plan whenever someone files a petition for custody or visitation. These plans help parents who are not living together create an environment for their child or children that promotes their best interests.
The parenting plans are detailed and comprehensive, focusing on four major areas:
Missouri has a parenting plan form to help you provide the necessary information for a plan. It is best if the parents can work out a plan together, but if not, each parent must submit a plan. If the parents cannot agree, the court will make determinations based on the submitted plans.
This article will give you a general overview of the information and decisions that you will need to make in developing your Missouri parenting plan.
Developing a parenting plan is no small matter. You will be asked to provide detailed information about how and when each parent will spend time with the child as well as answer questions as to how you will handle any problems in the future. There is a detailed form and statute that describes the information that will be need, but sometimes statutes can be confusing, so we have provided a summary in "plain English" to assist you.
Missouri Revised Statutes, Chapter 452
Missouri Supreme Court
|Custody and Parenting Time||
Who will have legal and physical custody of the children?
You will have to decide if one or both parents have legal custody, and/or physical custody. You may decide to share both types of custody or only share one. It is common for parents to share legal custody and grant one parent sole physical custody. It is also possible for one parent to have sole legal and physical custody, and the other parent to have visitation rights.
Where will the children reside?
What will the parenting time schedule be for each parent?
How are children picked up and dropped off?
Who will be responsible for transporting the children between parents?
How are holidays and vacations handled?
What if you need to change the schedule?
Can I require telephone contact?
How will you handle any special needs?
Decision-Making Rights and Responsibilities
Missouri has a strong public policy to encourage both parents to participate in decisions that concern their children, but sometimes it is better to have one parent responsible for certain things. You should consider each of the following areas as to whether you will share decision making, or whether one parent will be responsible:
Agreements About Communication
Make agreements to ensure you communicate about important topics, including:
You should attempt to resolve all matters with the other parent, but if you cannot do so, consider a plan that will help resolve a dispute such as:
|Covering the Child's Expenses||
Both parents are responsible for the support and expenses of their children. The court will determine the amount of child support based on a variety of factors. However, there may be other expenses that require special consideration on who pays and what percentage. These expenses may include:
Grandparents may be granted reasonable visitation rights (Section 452.402 )
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
It is in the best interests of the child to have frequent and quality time with both parents, but it can be a daunting task. There is so much detailed information and possible future consequences. You may have questions or need help creating your Missouri parenting plan. Contacting a qualified Missouri child custody attorney can help you.
Contact a qualified attorney.