When creating a child custody agreement, you hope that the terms will work for your family long term. Unfortunately, it does not always work out that way and you may find you need the terms modified. If you do, that is okay. The state of Missouri does allow for the modification of child custody agreements under certain circumstances.
Achieving a custody modification can take some effort. At the end of the day, any changes made need to serve the best interests of your children.
How to get a custody modification
There are two ways to go about seeking a child custody modification. First, you can try to work out new terms with your ex. If there is a mutual desire for the change, going this route should not be an issue. Once you've agreed upon new terms, you must submit the changes to a judge for review and approval. The court is inclined to accept the changes unless there is some reason to feel that the proposed changes will harm the children.
The other way to go about seeking a custody modification is by requesting a court hearing. When parents cannot agree on custody changes, each can present his or her case to a judge for consideration. The court may require parents to attempt mediation first before actually hearing the case.
If you require a hearing in order to seek custody modification, the court will want to see that you experienced a change in circumstances warranting the adjustment. A few qualifying changes in circumstances include:
- Parental relocation
- Concerns over child safety
- Hardship resulting from the custody plan
- Change in child or parent schedules
A judge will want to know why you want a custody change, but you must also provide evidence to back up your request. A custody modification is a big thing that can disrupt a child's sense of security and stability. You need to have a good reason for making such a request.
Not alone in your fight
If you believe you need to modify your custody order but are unsure how to go about requesting it or the thought of going to court alone intimidates you, the good news is you do not have to fight this fight alone. Legal counsel can help you every step of the way until you achieve a custody plan works for your family 's current needs.