Legal Updates

Missouri Child Custody: Part 3 – Interference with Child Custody

This is part 3 of our series on Missouri child custody this week. In case you missed it, be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 for more information on child custody in Missouri.

Under Missouri law once the issue of child custody is decided by a court both parents must abide by the terms of the order unless both parents agree to not follow the order.  If one parent interferes with the other parent’s court ordered custody (without consent), the parent whose custody is interfered with can seek relief from the court through a family access motion or a motion for contempt.

If a court finds that one parent unreasonably interfered with, or denied the other parent’s child custody, the court should make appropriate orders to ensure the parent whose custody has been interfered with or denied.  Furthermore, the court can and should order the party who unreasonably interferes with or denies custody to pay the costs and attorneys fees of the parent filing the motion.

In some cases, where the custody interference or denial is more severe or occurs frequently, the parent who is denied his or her visitation may be entitled to a modification of child custody.  When awarding child custody, one of the factors a court must consider is which parent is most likely to allow the other parent frequent, continuing and meaningful visitation with the child.  If one parent is violating a custody order and unreasonably interfering with or denying custody to the other parent, a court may decide to enter an order granting the other parent sole physical custody or more custodial time in general.

Deciding how to proceed if you are being denied child custody depends on the specific facts of your case.  It is best to consult an attorney to decide how to proceed.

This is just a brief summary of the child custody law in Missouri.  It is not intended to be legal advice.  Each case is unique and it is best to consult a Missouri attorney to find out how the law should apply to any particular case.