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Legal Information: Missouri

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
November 14, 2019

How will the judge decide custody and visitation in a full order of protection?

If the court makes a custody decision in a hearing for a full order of protection, the judge should assume that it is in the child’s best interests for the non-abusive parent to get custody. If there is evidence that both parents have been abusive to each other, the judge will not make this assumption. Instead, the judge can appoint a guardian ad litem or a court-appointed special advocate to represent the child and will consider all other factors that are normally considered in a custody case.1

When deciding visitation in a hearing for a full order of protection, the judge should give the non-custodial parent visitation rights unless the judge believes that one of the following is true:

  • visitation would endanger the child’s physical health;
  • visitation would negatively affect the child’s emotional development;
  • visitation would otherwise conflict with the best interests of the child; or
  • that it is not possible to have visitation and still be able to protect the custodial parent from further abuse.2

The court may appoint a guardian ad litem or court-appointed special advocate to represent the minor child whenever the custodial parent alleges that visitation with the noncustodial parent will damage the minor child.2

Note: An order of protection cannot change the custody of children when an action for dissolution of marriage (divorce) has been filed or when a judge has previously awarded custody to a parent.3

1 MO ST § 455.050(5)
2 MO ST § 455.050(6)
3 MO ST § 455.060(6)