The Missouri divorce law is just like any other law affected by different changes in the current setting. People and their lifestyles continue to evolve day in and day out, which is why laws are also updated every once in a while to make them more applicable to today’s world.
Here are some of the most recent updates to divorce law that you should know about.
(Section 452.375 of the Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452, Dissolution of Marriage, Divorce, Alimony and Separate Maintenance)
Previously, a list of eight relevant factors are considered by the court before giving a custody decision. With the changes made, that decision will only be made by the courts if the parties involved have not reached an agreement just yet.
If the couple has already agreed on a suitable arrangement, it must also be noted that the court should still review what has been agreed upon. If the court feels that the arrangement is not in the child’s best interest, it has the power to reject it.
Still, in the same section of Chapter 452 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, changes to the language used has also been put into place. Previously, the section states that special preference should not be given based on age, sex or financial status. Now, the new phrase states that “The court shall not presume that a parent, solely because of his or her sex, is more qualified than the other parent to act as a joint or sole legal or physical custodian of the child.”
The Marks Law Firm explains that this change immediately covers the “tender years doctrine”, which has been rejected by courts a long time ago. This doctrine states that mothers are automatically presumed to be the better choice in terms of giving the right kind of care for children under 7 years old.
(in custody or visitation cases)
Under the new Missouri divorce law, the court now considers any party’s past custodial interference as a strong basis to modify any custody agreement. It should be considered without cause, and should impact the decision on how frequent the contact of the child should be with the other party.
The new provisions of the Missouri divorce laws state that a handbook will be published in an effort to guide both the parents and the courts in creating a suitable parenting plan for each case. Basically, it seeks to help the parties make the most out of the time that a child will be spending with each parent.
Of course, this law does not mean that each parent should be given equal time with the kids. However, they would like the courts and the parents to at least come up with an arrangement that comes close.
The handbook will not only be made available online, but will also be provided to each party by their respective attorneys.
A huge change was also imposed on the way parenting plans are made. The previous provisions allows every county to have a standard parenting plan in place. Today, no default plan may be drafted until both parties are given the chance to go to a hearing and challenge the terms of any parenting plan that will be put into place. A standard set of parenting plan guidelines will be posted by the Supreme Court. This will be used as the primary basis of any parenting plan, instead of having each county draft their own.
These changes could drastically alter the effects of one’s decision to file for a divorce. Review the changes made to the Missouri divorce law to make sure that you clearly understand all the ramifications of this decision.