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Legal Information: Missouri


January 27, 2021

Who can get custody?

Custody can be granted to either parent or both parents.1 A judge cannot give preference to either parent because of that parent’s age, sex, or financial status, nor because of the age or sex of the child.2

In certain circumstances, custody or visitation can be granted to someone else, known as a third party. In order for a non-parent to get third-party custody or visitation, the judge must determine that:

  • each parent is unfit, unsuitable, or unable to be a custodian; or
  • it is in the best interests of the child, and the well-being (welfare) of the child requires, that custody, temporary custody, or visitation be awarded to someone who the judge believes is suitable and able to provide an adequate and stable environment for the child.1

​1 MO ST § 452.375(5)
​2 MO ST § 452.375(8)