Modifying your custody arrangement

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, January 4, 2019.

Springfield clients often come to us here at the Stange Law Firm PC with a similar question: How can I modify my custody agreement? At the time of your divorce, the court likely handed down a custodial arrangement that, while taking yours and your ex-spouse’s feelings into account, was deemed to be in the best interests of your children. That arrangement likely took some getting used to, but the hope is that eventually you were able to collectively make it work. Circumstances do change, however, and now you may be discovering that what did accommodate you before no longer does. You likely now share the aforementioned question. 

According to the website for the Judicial Branch of Missouri’s state government, custody orders can be modified by petition. It is recommended that you work with your ex-spouse to come up with a new arrangement that is acceptable to the both of you. You then must submit a “Motion to Modify Child Custody” (state form CAFC101) to the court that has jurisdiction over your case. If both you and your ex-spouse are in agreement about the proposed modifications, the court can approve your petition without needing to have a hearing (the only exception to this may be when major modifications are proposed, such as changing the children’s primary residence). 

If you and your ex-spouse do not agree, then your case is considered to be contested and a hearing in required. If you are the one seeking the custody modification, then you must present evidence showing why your proposed changes would be beneficial to your children’s welfare. 

Regardless of whether your case is contested or not, whatever decisions the court makes become binding and constitute an entirely new agreement. More information on managing child custody can be found throughout our site. 

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