How Does Temporary Custody Work in MO?

By Beverly Bird

There are few hard and fast rules when it comes to child custody and Missouri’s statutes are no exception. Custody decisions usually come down to the opinion of a single judge. The concept of temporary custody is further complicated in Missouri because it means different things in different situations.

Custody Pending Divorce

Temporary custody sometimes refers to the parenting plan in place while your divorce litigation is in progress. Some spouses don’t need to establish a formal arrangement during this time because their separation is amicable. However, in high-conflict divorces, either parent might want a concise, court-ordered parenting plan as soon as possible. Missouri does not require that you wait until your divorce is final to achieve this. You can ask the court for an order detailing custody terms immediately. These temporary orders usually remain in effect until the court issues a final divorce decree. A permanent parenting plan is included in the decree’s terms.

Establishing Temporary Custody

Seeking a temporary custody order in Missouri is a relatively straightforward process. After you’ve filed for divorce, you can file a motion with the court. You’ll have a court date within weeks rather than waiting several months for your final divorce hearing. You can usually get motion packets from the court clerk. They include the actual notice of motion, which tells your spouse and the court that you’re requesting a temporary order, and a written explanation, called an affidavit or declaration, detailing your requested custody terms. When you file for divorce in Missouri, you’re required to submit a proposed parenting plan at the same time detailing the custody arrangement you’d like the court to order when your divorce is final. You can reiterate these terms in your affidavit. At the hearing, the judge will decide temporary custody based on the same factors he will use to determine a more permanent parenting plan -- what he considers to be in the best interests of your children.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Implications of Temporary Custody

Technically, judges are not supposed to consider the terms of temporary custody orders when they decide permanent custody orders. However, in reality, temporary custody often leads to permanent custody. The parent who remains in the marital home often receives temporary custody because courts won’t make children leave their homes absent some compelling reason, such as abuse. When children do well in the temporary arrangement, courts usually don’t see any reason to change that when they issue a permanent order. However, if you’re uncomfortable with the temporary order, you can contest it at your final divorce hearing. You can also attempt to negotiate more favorable terms with your spouse because Missouri requires divorcing parents to attend two hours of mediation to try to work out a permanent parenting plan.

Permanent Parenting Plans

The term temporary custody also refers to visitation time in Missouri. If you’re the non-custodial parent, you’ve got temporary custody during the times when your children reside with you. This is "temporary" in an immediate sense because your children will return to their other parent within a day or two. When parents can’t agree on their own parenting plan, Missouri courts will often order visitation or temporary custody one weeknight each week, plus every other weekend.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
How Long Can Temporary Custody Last?
 

References

Related articles

How to Prepare for a Temporary Custody Hearing

A temporary custody hearing occurs when one person seeks temporary custody of a child pending a final resolution of the custody matter. These hearings are most commonly a part of a divorce proceeding, but may also occur when a grandparent or other figure seeks custody of a child when the parents are unable to provide proper care. In some states, temporary custody hearings are automatic whenever there is a divorce or dispute over custody. In other states, you must file a petition with the court seeking a temporary custody hearing. Consult your state laws or a family law attorney.

Joint Legal Vs. Joint Physical Custody in New York State

Custody orders sometimes baffle parents with their legal terminology, to the point where parents often aren't sure exactly what kind of custody they have. New York’s statutes are more confounding than those of some other states. They don’t specifically make reference to legal or physical custody, but only to custody as a whole. Even so, every New York custody order addresses the concepts of joint, sole, legal and physical custody, even if the order does not discuss the custody in exactly those terms.

If I Drop a PFA, Is the Custody in Effect?

If, at any time, you feel an individual is threatening your life, health or well-being, you have the right to seek a restraining order from the court to keep him away from you. Some states refer to these orders as protection from abuse orders, or PFAs. Laws governing them vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but are similar procedurally. Judges often include custody provisions in PFAs when children are involved in abusive relationships.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Dating During the Temporary Custody Phase of a Divorce in Oklahoma

Oklahoma's divorce statutes don't include a specific prohibition about dating. They don't say that if you go out for ...

How to Appeal a Temporary Order of Child Custody

In the context of divorce, temporary custody is truly temporary – it lasts only from the time the order is issued until ...

Differences Between Temporary Child Custody and Permanent

Most state courts base custody decisions on the best interests of the children. Many legislative codes are vague about ...

Types of Custody Motions

When parents contest custody, it's usually one of the first things a court will rule on in a divorce -- at least ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED