Let us say you and your spouse divorced five years ago when your son was 10 years old. Now he is 15 and some issues have developed.
The parenting plan that has been in place since the divorce has worked well, but circumstances surrounding your son indicate that a change is needed. How does this work in Missouri?
Your son Tom has resided with you since you and his father divorced, and while he was easy to deal with as a young boy, he has become more independent and argumentative and increasingly difficult for you to manage as he grows further into his teen years. You feel that your parenting roles should be reversed now and that Tom should go reside with his dad. This would mean modification to your parenting plan through a new court order.
Agree to disagree
If you and Tom's father are in accord with the proposed arrangement, your attorney can file a stipulation with the court showing that you are both in agreement. However, if the other parent is not convinced that Tom would be better served by living with him, you are looking at a contested hearing. As the requesting parent, you will have to present the court with evidence of the problems you are having with your son.
Obtaining the new court order
Your attorney will help you prepare if a contested hearing is in the offing. Modification of your parenting agreement will require several steps, beginning with the filing of a motion. In the state of Missouri, the best interests of the child are always the foremost consideration in terms of agreement modification. Although you and the other parent do not see eye to eye at the outset, keep in mind that even if the legal process has begun, the two of you could still settle your differences at any time without a decision from the court. In the end, it is all about Tom and how a modified parenting plan would benefit him.