child custody

Child Custody: A Guide to Modifications~ 2 min read

Exploring adjustments to child custody or support arrangements can be complex, yet it’s a journey that you may need to undertake. If you’re contemplating a modification regarding child custody, this guide is designed to simplify the process.

  • Filing a Motion: Initiating changes in child custody involves filing a motion with the court.  If your co-parent is not in agreement with modifying the custody order, you can simply file this and the Court will make the determination.  Alternatively, this can be done by consent after you have come to an agreement with your co-parent through discussions, mediation, or the collaborative process. 
  • Establish Change: Changing the schedule may require a showing of a substantial change in circumstances or simply may be based on the child’s best interest, depending on exactly what you are asking to be changed and what your prior order already provides.  Modifying the joint or sole custody designation can be more difficult; may require a showing of a substantial change in circumstance and that the modification is in the child’s best interest.    
  • Exercise Caution: Even minor adjustments can have significant repercussions. You should assess the impact before proceeding, especially if the changes involve seemingly trivial details.
  • Consider the 50/50 Presumption: Missouri law provides that there shall be a rebuttable presumption that an award of equal or approximately equal parenting time to each parent is in the best interest of the child.  You must keep this in mind when considering filing for a modification and should approach it with care. Attempting to alter the order may not always yield favorable outcomes.

Mediation and collaborative law offer more amicable solutions to handle modifications for you and your family. Many parenting plans advocate or even require using these methods before resorting to legal avenues.

If you have questions or need legal assistance regarding child custody, child custody modifications or any other family law matter, please contact Jennifer Piper at 314-449-9800 to schedule a consultation. Family Ally is located at 130 S. Bemiston Ave., Suite 608, St. Louis, MO 63105.

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