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Incarceration and the custodial parent

21473422_S.jpgMissouri custodial parents who are arrested might wonder what will become of their child. If they are going to go to jail, the child may be placed with the other parent or another family member. Child social services may be involved in the process.

Courts base their decision about which parent gets custody on what is in the best interests of the child, and they will apply the same set of criteria when they decide who to place the children with if the custodial parent can no longer care for them. This includes considering who is best able to care for the child financially and physically.

Other things the court may consider include the emotional bond between the children and their potential guardian and whether that person has habits such as excessive drinking. The court will look at the child's quality of life and how much adjustment it will take when the child moves to a new household. Depending on the age of the child, the court may also consider their preferences.

Family court judges generally assume that a child benefits from time with both parents. However, if the incarcerated parent has issues with domestic violence or addiction or if the court feels the child might be unsafe with that parent, the parent may only be allowed supervised visitation. On the other hand, it is also possible that the court will decide that the parent is the best person to continue raising the child once no longer incarcerated. A parent who is in this situation, a noncustodial parent or even a family member who is concerned about the child's welfare and is seeking guardianship might want to talk to an attorney about the issue.

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  • Saint Louis County: 120 S. Central Ave., Suite 450, Clayton, MO 63105: Clayton Office
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