The relationship between parents often ends before the children are old enough to live independently, so parents have to figure out how to share custody after the split.
Most of the time, the Missouri family courts assume that shared custody will be in the best interest of the children. However, you might be able to secure sole custody in any of the three circumstances listed below:
1. Your ex is abusive or negligent
Your ex has a history of physical aggression, emotional abuse or neglect, such as leaving young children alone without supervision, it may not be in the best interests of the children for them to have shared custody. If you can show documentation of abuse or neglect, such as police reports or medical records, that can help you protect your children.
2. Your ex is an addict with no control over their condition
Plenty of people overcome alcoholism and other forms of addiction to live meaningful, socially beneficial lives. However, many other people never truly overcome their addiction and let it control their daily lives. If your ex can’t go a day without getting drunk or pops pills for which they have no prescription, it may not be safe for your children to be in their custody.
3. Your ex doesn’t have a safe place to stay
Shared parenting time means that both parents will provide for the basics the children require, like shelter, food and educational support. If your ex doesn’t have stable housing or the means of providing for the children right now, it may be best for you to seek sole custody until their life is in a more stable place.
Understanding that the courts will likely only award sole custody if they think it is in the best interest of the children can help you manage your expectations and understand what hurdles may be ahead. An experienced advocate can help you learn more.