Typically parents know what is their child’s best interest. However, we need to consider the situation and the likely conflicting views of each parent when creating a parenting plan that will determine the type of custody and visitation parents will have with the children.
For this reason the Court is required to consider certain factors when analyzing what is “in the best interests of the child”.
In order to determine what is in the best interests of the child, the Court will hear evidence to support or undermine each of the statutory factors.
Best interests takes into consideration the child’s mental and physical health, stability, happiness, and the best possible environment for the child to develop into a healthy, happy and competent adult, along with an enumerated list of factors that are spelled out below.
That is why Anthony Moreno is a priceless asset when it comes to creating a parenting plan during divorce. His education and experience will guide you through the process with a steady hand and voice of reason that could save you, massive amounts of heart ache and countless amounts of money.
The Court determines custody based on what it believes is in the best interests of the child. Custody can be joint legal, joint physical, sole legal, sole physical, or any combination.
An award of joint custody is encouraged. Having both parents in the child’s life is the ideal situation for the well being of that child.
That is why joint custody is the ideal scenario, and the likely scenario depending on the evidence presented.
There are two types of joint custody
- Joint Legal custody
- Parents share the decision making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of a child.
- Joint Physical custody
- Each parent has significant but not necessarily equal periods of time during which a child resides with him or her or is under his or her care and supervision.
Some “Best Interests of the Child” factors include, but are not limited to the following:
- The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;
- The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;
- The child’s adjustment to the child’s home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved.
If the court finds that a pattern of domestic violence has occurred, and, if the court also finds that awarding custody to the abusive parent is in the best interest of the child, then the court shall enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law.Custody and visitation rights shall be ordered in a manner that best protects the child and any other child or children for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights, and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence from any further harm;
- The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and
- The wishes of a child as to the child’s custodian.
– Mo.Rev.Stat. Section 452.375.2
A parenting plan must be submitted to the Court when there is a dissolution (divorce) or legal separation and there are children of the marriage.
Additionally, a parenting plan must be filed with the Court in paternity actions, where parents were never married, but have children in common.
A parenting plan is always written based on what each parent believes is in the best interests of the child, then submitted to the Court and is binding once approved by the Court, whether through an Uncontested Hearing or Trial.
The parenting plan needs to include:
- Child Custody and Parenting Time
Your child needs to continue to have meaningful contact with each parent to continue a healthy relationship over time. To ensure that a parenting plan must specify
- Legal & Physical Custody arrangements
- Primary residence of the child
- How the child will be exchanged and transported during parenting time
- How the parents will make and communicate needed changes in parenting time schedules
- Any restrictions necessary to protect the child
- Decision Making Rights & Responsibilities
Your plan must include how you will make decisions in all areas of your child’s life.
- Medical & Dental Care
- Health Care Providers
- Religious Upbringing
- Problem Solving
- How the parents will settle disputes and resolve child related issues
- Expenses of the Child
- Must include the amount of child support one parent will pay the other.
- May be ideal to include other expenses such as health, dental, activities and child care.
The Parenting Plan is extremely important and once accepted by the court is binding. Anthony Moreno has the education and experience you need on your side when creating and deciding the best plan that will affect daily life for many years to come.