How to Get Full Custody of a Child in Missouri

By Editorial Team

Updated July 21, 2017

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It can be difficult to receive full custody of a child because Missouri courts believe that children are healthiest when they are exposed to both parents a maximum amount of time. Missouri courts will base their decision on the best interest of the child, but, due to the many circumstances that courts consider, the outcomes vary greatly. The best way to attempt to receive full custody of a child is to either higher an attorney and research Missouri laws. It is of utmost important that there is proof of why the child will thrive best in your home.

Legal Representation

If at all possible, a family lawyer should be obtained. An attorney will know all Missouri laws and understand how they pertain to your specific case. Although lawyers can be costly, they are worth it if you are trying to receive full custody of a child. If the custody is contested, attorney representation will be invaluable.

If an attorney is not obtained, fill out all court paperwork to the best of your knowledge and file them with the Missouri court in your jurisdiction. Court clerks can provide all the paperwork you will need. The paperwork can also be obtained on the state website. Filing court papers costs money, but Missouri provides additional paperwork that can be filled out prior to filing for custody. The paperwork will be reviewed. If you are approved to receive assistance, the court will minimize or cancel your filing fees.

To receive full custody of a child in Missouri, you will be responsible to know how the child will be raised with you in comparison to the other parent or parties involved. A full custodial parent has the right and responsibility to determine the best education, health care and religious doctrine. The custody court papers include these topics and they will be addressed in court. Fully fill out all sections pertaining to the topics because that means you have thought about the best interest of the child.

When you fill out the court paperwork consider how you will provide the other parent or parties involved visitation to the child. Courts in Missouri use the best interest of the child standard. The best interest of the child includes the child&#039;s right to have both parents involved with him. If providing visitation may reasonably endanger the child, however, address that issue in the court paperwork. Missouri courts require documentation of all criminal activity committed by the other party that shows why you believe they could be dangerous to the child.

Make sure to provide the Missouri court with all additional documentation pertinent to the child&#039;s welfare. Other documentation should include income, available education, journals of prior incidents involving the other parent, and documentation of any child progression or regression in school, social settings and in their mental well being.

Items you will need

  • court papers

  • documentation

  • money

  • lawyer


Once custody is established, it must be followed or it can be reversed. It may be hard to obtain full custody of a child because the other parent must be found unfit, or unwilling to show up in court before they will lose parental rights.