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Performing your function as a parent

40150224_S.jpgMissouri's motto has long been "The Show Me" state. In a case involving child custody, using that principle can help your case. Judges want you to "show them" why they should credit your perspective when going through the factors used to determine child custody.

Looking at the factors used for a child support determination, it is important to understand each one and how a court may look at them. A court has eight factors it needs to review before reaching a conclusion.

For many years, mothers had an advantage, as they were typically the caregiver. This has changed, and the legislature has changed the text of the statute to reflect this change. The second of the eight factors states:

"The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;"

This factor recognizes the importance of both parents remaining involved in the child's life, but it is important to look at the second half of that factor, the "willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child."

Both parents must be willing to "actively perform" as mother and father. This is where your attorney can help, by working with you to create a list of the activities that you are involved in with your child.

You may assemble their lunch every day before they head to school, or deal with bath and bed time. you may do the cooking or make sure their laundry is done every week, in addition to helping with homework. For older children, you may take them to practice for their afterschool sports, drama, dance or other extracurricular activities.

This list will vary with every child, but the key is demonstrating how you are involved in a variety of your child's activities and how they are important in creating bonds between the parent and child that will last a lifetime.

By "showing" the judge, you can support your case for the child custody plan you need.

Source: moga.mo.gov, "Missouri Revised Statutes, Section 452.375.1," Updated August 28, 2015

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