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Melissa A. Featherston

New laws could impact child custody arrangements

The governor of Missouri has recently signed a bill into law that could impact parents and their parenting time after divorce. This new law could equalize how child custody is determined in a divorce and may be a step in the right direction toward equalizing custody rights between fathers and mothers. This new law would require that custody arrangements be based on the best interests of the child, not the gender of the parent.

In the past, custody was often automatically awarded to the mother. Mothers will no longer receive preferential treatment in court, but will be on equal footing with the father. Experts and research studies agree that children benefit when they can maintain a strong relationship with both parents after a divorce. It is hoped that these new laws will promote arrangements that are sustainable and beneficial.

Parents still retain the right to work on a custody agreement outside of court. Not every divorce requires litigation, but parents can negotiate the terms of a parenting plan that works for their kids and their unique situation. However, in the event that parents are unable to reach an agreement out of court, the court will determine what is in the best interests of the child.

Child custody can be one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce. Missouri fathers and mothers now have an equal footing in court, and they can protect their rights with the help of an experienced family law attorney. Custody matters are sensitive, but with the right guidance and support, these matters can be resolved efficiently and effectively.

Source: newspressnow.com, "New law reflects child custody changes", Alonzo Weston, July 18, 2016

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