Change in Child Custody Laws

There has recently been a lot of hype in the media regarding recent revisions to the child custody laws in the State of Missouri.  The common misconception is that it creates a presumption that a 50/50 custody arrangement is in the best interests of a child.  Actually, an initial proposal included language of that nature.  However, the final, approved version of the law merely says that a Court cannot presume that a parent, solely because of his or her sex, is more qualified to act as a sole or joint legal or physical custodian for the child.  So, what does that mean?

The child custody law still requires the Court to apply 8 factors in determining the appropriate custody arrangement for a child.  The Courts are certainly trending more towards true 50/50 custody arrangements than they used to.  However, at the end of the day, the Court will still determine the custody arrangement that it believes to be in the best interest of the child involved, which will sometimes be 50/50 and sometimes not.