Laws in Missouri About Gaining Temporary Custody of Kids

By Mike Broemmel

children image by Mat Hayward from

There are different laws in Missouri about gaining temporary custody of kids. Some of these laws are designed to provide a parent temporary custody of a child during a divorce case. There are other Missouri laws that provide for temporary custody of a minor on an emergency basis. Both these general areas of temporary child custody laws require the issuance of an order by a Missouri court.

Temporary Custody in a Divorce

A court presiding over a divorce case is empowered to issue a temporary custody order. The temporary custody order is designed to remain in place during the course of the divorce proceedings when an indefinite (oftentimes called "permanent") custody order is put in place.

The parties to a divorce each have the right to file a motion seeking temporary custody of child under Missouri law. In determining which parent is to be awarded temporary custody of a child, the court focuses on what is in the best interests of the child. In making this determination, the court considers such factors as which parent traditionally was the primary caretaker of the child and the overall physical and mental health of all parties.

Emergency Temporary Protective Custody

Missouri law includes provisions dealing with emergency temporary protective custody of a child. Temporary protective custody occurs when a child is discovered to be victim of abuse or neglect. Typically a law enforcement officer or other governmental official removes the child from the home on an emergency basis.

The child is placed in the temporary custody of a medical center (if necessary) or foster care. If there is another family member available, the child can be placed in that individual's home.

Emergency temporary custody placement occurs in most cases without an immediate order of the court. However, this placement cannot continue for more than 24 hours without a court hearing and review of the situation. The court needs to issue a specific order extending this type of temporary custody

Read More: Difference Between Temporary & Full Custody

Temporary Protective Custody

A judge does possess the power under Missouri law to extend a temporary protective order beyond the emergency 24 hour time period. In extending the temporary protective order, the judge must attempt to place the child with a family member if at all possible (a grandparent, for example).

The temporary protective order remains in effect until the court elects to alter the determination. In a case of abuse or neglect, the law requires reintegration with the child's parents if a safe home environment is established. If integration is not possible, Missouri law calls for another permanent solution. Typically the alternate permanent solution is making the child available for adoption.