New Shared Parenting Bill (HB1550) Signed in Missouri

HB1550 Shared Parenting Bill

A new shared parenting bill has been passed by Governor Nixon in the State of Missouri. This new bill is making moves towards making shared parenting the norm in Missouri. The hope of this bill was to accomplished 50/50 custody, or shared parenting, more likely in the State of Missouri. There are many other components to HB1550 Bill, but one of the main focuses being that parents who are being denied their custody time will be able to get a quick relief by highlighting the already existing Family Access Motion relief available in Missouri statutes - through the requirement of a new disclaimer being added to all custody judgments.

There are many key facets to this new bill, including:

  • It creates guidelines for parenting plans; "maximizes to the highest degree the amount of time the child may spend with the parent"
  • Allows the courts to explain why shared parenting wasn't awarded if another arrangement was awarded to the individuals
  • Requires the courts to provide written conclusions and findings in a custody case, which would ultimately could make the case appealable is a side of the party disagrees with the judgment
  • "Presume that a parent, solely because of his or her sex, is more qualified than the other parent;
  • Does not allow local courts from creating their own rules, such as creating and managing default parenting plan
  • Requires this language in custody judgments after August 28, 2016: "In the event of noncompliance with this order, the aggrieved party may file a verified motion for contempt. If custody, visitation, or third-party custody is denied or interfered with by a parent or third party without good cause, the aggrieved person may file a family access motion with the court stating the specific facts that constitute a violation of the custody provisions of the judgment of dissolution, legal separation, or judgment of paternity. The circuit clerk will provide the aggrieved party with an explanation of the procedures for filing a family access motion and a simple form for use in filing the family access motion. A family access motion does not require the assistance of legal counsel to prepare and file."

For more information about the new bill, you can follow this link. This new bill will have a significant impact on Missouri child custody determinations. While the legislation makes equal custody, or equal custody time, seem more obtainable, there are still factors that the court could report to on not to order equal or 50/50 custody based on the factors of the given case. Ultimately, this legislation will likely make it easier for many parents to obtain the shared parenting schedules.

There is still relief in the State of Missouri as it relates to Family Access Motions for those with existing custody judgments. Additionally, for fathers who have not established their rights as a father, they still would seem precluded from filing a Family Access Motion until they have received a custody judgment through a custody case- better known as a paternity action. Thus, for many of the fathers out there who believe they are being denied time with their kids, but who have no judgment for custody, this legislation may not do anything to give them a fast relief until they first obtain a custody agreement.

While this new legislation intimates that a party is not required to have an attorney for a Family Access Motion, it is always advisable to have legal representation. Among many other reasons, if you have an evidentiary hearing on a Family Access Motion, you will likely be at a disadvantage if you end up trying it without an attorney. This is especially true if the other parent ends up with legal representation.

If you are facing a child custody issue, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. We focus exclusively on family law in the primary areas of divorce, child custody, child support, paternity and other family law matters.

Stange Law Firm, PC offers a confidential half-hour consultation to meet with an attorney. You may call 855-805-0595 or visit us online.