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Melissa A. Featherston

Missouri child custody cannot always be settled out of court

Child custody issues are among the hardest to settle for Missouri couples going through divorce. While many cases will be settled at the circuit court level, sometimes divorcing spouses do not agree with the decisions that lower courts make and choose to appeal rulings to a higher court. One wealthy couple is experiencing this issue. After a judge gave joint custody to them, the woman appealed and pursued the child custody case to their state's Supreme Court.

Problems surfaced when the woman wanted to move out of their state to pursue better treatments for their young daughter afflicted with Down Syndrome. However, her husband disagreed and ultimately filed for divorce. The woman had originally requested $25,000 in child support, but the court only awarded her a little less than $3,000 per month. The couple was also awarded joint custody of their children.

The woman disagreed with the decision of the court and appealed the verdict, forcing a showdown in the Supreme Court. She believes that the court erred when they chose to side with the expert witness on the husband's side who recommended joint custody. She believes her husband is an 'absent' father and that joint custody could disrupt their daughter's life. Their case is now scheduled to be heard in the court soon.

Although most Missouri child custody cases won't go this far, sometimes parents simply cannot agree on the issue. While reaching an amicable settlement is often in the best interests of everyone, many parents feel that such a battle is actually in the best interests of their children. The state Supreme Court will now have to decide which one of the experts to side with and further come to a decision on joint custody.

Source: keloland.com, "Couple's Divorce Goes Before Supreme Court," Brady Mallory, Oct. 2, 2012

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