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Melissa A. Featherston

Missouri child custody: rights of non-custodial parents

Many parents in Missouri are aware that child custody cases can be a time of extreme emotion for parents as well as other family members involved. When one parent is incarcerated, a child custody situation can get even more complicated. Recently, a prisoner was granted visitation rights with his child despite the objections of the child's mother.

The father who is serving a prison sentence ought for and received visitation rights after the court of appeals ruled in his favor. The father had been present during the birth of the child and had visited him at least a dozen times in the six to seven months before he was incarcerated. He has tried to maintain a relationship with the child through cards and letters and requested the mother bring the child for visits at the prison.

The mother argued that the at least two hour drive is just too much for their 3-year-old son and that the child should not have to visit with a man whose actions caused him to be convicted of a felony. The court rejected that argument and even expounded on the importance of the rights of non-custodial parents. Although this may seem like a case where every incarcerated parent will be granted the same rights, the court was quick to point out that isn't the case. Every custody case is different and several things are taken into consideration when the court makes its final decision.

Any Missouri parent may benefit from knowing our state laws concerning child custody. Where there are situations where a parent shouldn't be granted visitation rights, courts will often ensure non-custodial parents are granted at least some visitation rights. Custodial parents that have concerns about such visitation have the opportunity to voice their concerns in court.

Source: silive.com, "Staten Island Advance legal columnist: Court upholds rights of non-custodial parent," Daniel Leddy, May 7, 2013

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