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Melissa A. Featherston

Protecting the child custody rights of divorced parents

In past times, child custody was almost always granted to the mother in the event of a divorce. Now that divorce is more prevalent in a progressive society, it is only natural that child custody arrangements should change as well. It is now more common to have arrangements that preserve the best interests of the children, with shared custody and joint parenting plans.

There is plenty of evidence validating the claim that cooperative parenting is better for the children. Missouri parents can work together to draft a parenting plan outlining education plans, religious preferences and other details that are important to the individual situation. Despite the benefit of a co-parenting plan, a family law judge still has the right and ability to veto these plans.

This is a concerning thought for Missouri parents who are divorcing. Even if they are wiling to work together with an ex-spouse to develop a parenting plan, the judge can determine that the plan is not valid if it is too complicated or considered not to meet the needs of the children. Parental agreement does not necessarily prevail over the other guidelines considered by a family law judge. However, there may still be ways that parents can proactively protect their rights during this difficult time.

When navigating the divorce process, parents may seek professional assistance when determining child custody arrangements. An experienced legal team can help parents work through this difficult time, representing their best interests and the interests of the children. If a parent feels that his or her rights have been compromised during the divorce process, it is best to seek a case evaluation to determine further action.

Source: The New York Times, "How Divorced Parents Lost Their Rights", Robert E. Emery, Sept. 6, 2014

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