Following a divorce, your life can change, and sometimes it's necessary to seek a modification of your child custody agreement. Circumstances such as a change in financial situation, a move, or other significant life changes can warrant a custody modification.
An attorney with family law experience can help you successfully navigate this important task. Lecour Family Law has the experience and expertise to provide child custody modification services following a divorce.
Child Custody Modification in Missouri
Missouri courts will typically grant child custody modifications when a parent can prove the changes are in the child's best interests. To support a request to modify custody, the parent must show that circumstances have changed since the original order. Second, the parent must prove that the original order no longer reflects the child's best interests under the new circumstances. Modifying a custody order is not about what is convenient for a parent, although an order should be practical.
How to Modify Child Custody in Missouri
In Missouri, there are two ways to modify child custody orders. For parents who communicate well, it's easiest to make minor changes, such as changing the time, place, or day the non-custodial parent sees the children in an informal agreement. Once the agreement is made, the parents can submit it to the court for approval without having to go through a formal hearing.
For many divorced parents, reaching an agreement on their own may not be possible. In these cases, filing a motion to modify child custody with the court is usually necessary. Parents with concerns regarding their current child custody arrangements should work with an experienced family law attorney.
Changes in Circumstances
Courts are unlikely to modify custody for minor reasons. There must be a significant change to justify changing the child's routine. Examples of circumstances that may warrant a change in custody include:
- Child abuse
- Domestic violence
- Substance abuse issues
- A parent cannot meet the child's daily needs, providing food, shelter, and other necessities.
- Inability or unwillingness of a parent to meet the child's medical or educational needs.
- The health problems of a parent interfere with their ability to provide a stable environment.
- A parent who is unwilling to follow the custody order and is interfering with the other parent's relationship with the child.
- A parent is charged with a serious crime.
The court will not interfere with a custody order for an ordinary life change. The change must impact the child’s welfare in a significant way.
Object or Request Child Relocations
You have rights if you have received formal or informal notification that your child's other parent intends to relocate. In the state of Missouri, parents have a short amount of time in which they can object to a relocation request. You could forfeit your rights if you fail to meet the deadline for a relocation request. Relocation can also require partial or complete modification of the parenting schedule. Lecour Family Law attorneys can provide services to clients objecting to relocation requests. We can also negotiate necessary alterations for parents planning to accommodate a relocation request.
Solutions for Unsuccessful Co-Parenting
During an initial custody agreement, parents often make a joint decision or share equal custody of their child. If the arrangement does not go well and is detrimental to the child(ren), you can explore other child custody options. Or, if the current agreement causes significant conflict, an experienced family law specialist can help with a child custody modification agreement.
Even peaceful co-parenting situations can evolve into high-conflict cases when a new significant other is introduced. Our extensive experience enables us to assist clients with identifying areas of conflict. We can also provide solutions that benefit your children while promoting harmony within the household.
How Can a Family Law Attorney Help?
It's essential to understand whether your situation qualifies for a custody modification before pursuing a change. If you decide to make a custody motion, you must approach it correctly to have a successful outcome. An experienced family law attorney understands the circumstances where the court is likely to entertain a custody change. They can help you present the necessary information to ensure the best outcome for your child and family.
Contact Lecour Family Law Today
You and your children deserve a bright, happy, and healthy future. Family issues shouldn't threaten that future. If your current child custody order is no longer working, contact an experienced family law expert for advice. The attorneys at Lecour Family Law serve clients in St. Charles, St. Peters, O'Fallon, and St. Louis, as well as surrounding communities in Missouri. If you need help with child custody issues, call us at 636-685-0440 to schedule a consultation.