To many Missouri residents, divorce may seem inevitable. While that certainly is not the case for everyone, numerous couples do choose to end their relationships. As a result, they must separate the lives that they began to build together, and if they have children, child custody matters need to be addressed.

Finding the right custody arrangements can be difficult because each family is different and because traditions and times change. For instance, in the past, it was often considered the norm for mothers to obtain sole custody of the children. However, there has been an increased acceptance and advocacy over the last few decades regarding shared custody. In fact, some states are considering joint custody from the start when considering custody matters rather than starting with the presumption of sole custody.

Of course, shared custody does not necessarily mean that the children will spend equal time with each parent because living in separate houses often does not make strictly 50-50 parenting time possible. As a result, when it comes to deciding where the children will live most of the time, it appears that courts do still rule more in favor of mothers. Still, changes are taking place in this area of law.

Missouri state laws regarding child custody, family dynamics, each parent’s parenting skills and numerous other factors can go into custody decisions. Parents who have concerns about the outcome of this part of their divorce cases may want to ensure that they understand their available options. It may also prove wise to discuss their particular circumstances with experienced attorneys.