When going through a divorce that involves children, custody orders are created to fit a family's circumstances at the time. There is always hope that the child custody order will work long term, but there are no guarantees. Thankfully, parents in Missouri can seek modifications to these orders when they feel that doing so is justified.
A custody modification can be achieved in one of two ways. First, parents can negotiate new terms privately, with the assistance of legal counsel or in mediation. Second, the parent wanting the change can file a petition in court. If new terms are agreed upon without needing to go to court, a judge will still have to sign off on the changes before a new order becomes active. If filing a petition is necessary, a hearing will be scheduled to address the matter in court.
There are numerous reasons as to why a custody change may be in order. A few include relocation, changes in employment, a child requests a change and concerns over the child's welfare. In order for a modification request to be granted and a new order created, a judge will have to review the situation and determine if the proposed changes do, in fact, serve the best interests of the child.
Filing a petition to modify a child custody order does not mean that the request will be honored. Every case is unique and every child's needs special. As the state of Missouri simply wants to ensure that every child is in the best situation possible for his or her growth and development, modification requests are not treated lightly. An experienced family law attorney can assist those seeking custody adjustments that will serve their family's best interests.
Source: courts.mo.gov, "Motion to Modify Child Custody (and Support)", Accessed on May 24, 2017