Modifying child custody in Missouri

Have your family circumstances changed since you reached a child custody agreement? When both parents agree to the change, you can modify the parenting plan without going to court. However, if your child’s other parent doesn’t agree, he or she has the right to contest a requested modification.

Learn more about considerations when changing a Missouri parenting plan.

Reasons for custody modification

You can request a custody modification anytime you think a change would serve your child’s best interests. However, Missouri does not allow changes simply based on the parent or child’s wishes when the other parent disagrees.

Examples of changed circumstances include changes to parent work schedules or increased extracurricular activities as the child gets older and attends school. You can also ask the court to change custody if you think the current environment poses new risks for the child’s safety and well-being.

Process of custody modification

You can start the process by filing the Motion to Modify Child Custody Form in the Missouri county that issued the original custody order. If the other parent contests the change, you must provide evidence that supports your request to modify the parenting plan. The other parent can also provide evidence for his or her standpoint.

In some cases, the judge will require the parents to attend mediation. During this session, a neutral party will try to help you reach an agreement.

If you do not reach an agreement in mediation, the judge will decide whether to modify the parenting schedule or maintain the existing plan. In either case, the decision is legally binding.

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