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When life changes, so should custody arrangements

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Uncategorized |

A custody order is a document issued by a family court judge that is enforceable via court action. Those co-parenting in Missouri can ask the courts to take action if the other parent of their children does not abide by the existing custody order.

There is typically an expectation that divorced or separated parents in Missouri should share responsibility for their children and the costs related to their care. The custody order outlines the specific division of parenting time and authority for the family’s unique situation.

Typically, family law judges or separating parents invest a lot of time and energy into the creation of a custody order that reflects the best interests of the children. Parents should do their best to uphold the terms of the order. However, as circumstances within the family change, it could become necessary to modify the custody order to reflect those changes.

When are modifications possible?

Modification proceedings are available to parents in one of two scenarios. Those sharing custody always have the option of cooperating with each other to establish or adjust the order dividing their parenting rights and responsibilities. They can seek an uncontested modification by cooperatively filing paperwork with the family courts. This approach allows parents to make adjustments as necessary with minimal expense and conflict.

Frequently, parents may not see eye to eye about the need for a custody modification. In a contested or litigated modification scenario, the rules are somewhat different. The parent requesting the adjustment of the custody arrangements must have evidence of a significant change in circumstances. Obtaining a new job or moving the children to a different school with a changed schedule could both be examples of significant changes that could warrant a custody modification.

The parent proposing alterations to an existing order also needs evidence supporting their proposed changes. A judge typically needs to agree that adjusting the terms of the custody order is in the best interests of the children. Parents can seek custody modifications over changes in schedules, relocations, new jobs, changes in relationships or improvements in their personal circumstances.

Formally modifying a custody order can help someone maximize the time they have with their children and minimize how much time they spend negotiating custody adjustments with their co-parent. Those who recognize when a modification may be necessary can be more proactive about asserting their parental rights.