Child custody disputes are always challenging for the parents, children, and the entire family. It is even more stressful when you must modify your existing child custody schedule or parenting plan in Missouri because you need to adjust to new circumstances. In this blog, we will discuss the step-by-step process to change a child custody schedule in Missouri and highlight some of the essential factors that courts consider when granting a child custody modification request.
5 Tips for Adjusting a Child Custody Time Sharing Schedule in Missouri
Do you need to change a child custody agreement in Missouri to accommodate new circumstances? Depending on your situation, it can be difficult but if you know what steps to take, it is certainly possible. Here are five tips that can help you modify a parenting plan or child custody arrangement in Missouri to better accommodate your circumstances:
- Understand the Law – Before modifying a custody schedule, you need to understand the legal requirements and factors considered by Missouri courts when assessing change requests. In Missouri, a custody order is only modified if a substantial and continuing change of circumstances occurred, that change is in the best interests of the child, and the modification request is not based solely on the parent's personal preferences. Therefore, you must show that the circumstances affecting the child's welfare have changed significantly since the initial custody order and that the modification is warranted. Also, note that if both parents agree to modify custody, their proposal goes to the court as an agreed modification, and the court will take into consideration in making a decision what the parties have agreed.
- Gather Relevant Information – To support your custody modification request, you must provide necessary and convincing evidence that the modification is in the child's best interests. Therefore, you should be prepared to gather relevant information and documents that show the compelling circumstances necessitating the schedule change. Some of the materials you may need to gather include school records, medical records, mental health evaluations, police reports, financial records, and employment records. Additionally, you should keep a journal or diary of significant events and activities dealing with the child and both parents if you expect to encounter issues during the custody modification process.
- File the Petition – Once you have identified the significant changes affecting the child's welfare, you should file a petition requesting a custody modification. Typically, you file the petition in the same Missouri court that initially issued the custody order. The court will review your petition, and if it meets the necessary legal standards, it schedules a hearing. The hearing is your chance to present evidence and documentation supporting your request for a custody modification.
- Attend the Hearing – In Missouri, you should attend the custody modification hearing and present evidence supporting your request. Present your case soberly and systematically. Do not show anger or frustration, as it may harm your case's viability. The judge presiding over the hearing will listen to both parents' arguments, examine the evidence presented, and make a ruling. The judge may also speak to the child or appoint a Guardian ad Litem to assess their welfare and recommend the most suitable custody arrangement. The judge may either approve or deny your request for a modification based on the factors presented during the hearing.
- Obey the Court Order – Once the judge has made their ruling, you must obey the court order and ensure that your child complies with the new custody arrangements. Failure to adhere to the court order may result in enforcement proceedings, contempt charges, or other penalties imposed by the court. It is advisable to update your family calendar and custody schedule and inform your child about the new arrangements.
Can You Modify a Parenting Plan without Going to Court in Missouri?
As parents, we always want what’s best for our children. But sometimes, situations change and as a result, you may need to modify your parenting plan or child custody schedule. Many parents in Missouri worry that making changes to their parenting plan will be a long and difficult legal process. However, there are three options available for changing your parenting plan without going to court:
- Reach an agreement with the other parent – The first option you have is to reach an agreement with the other parent. If both parents agree to the changes, then they can create a written agreement to modify the parenting plan. This agreement should include specific details about the changes that need to be made and how they will be implemented. It is important to note that this agreement must be in writing, signed by both parents, and filed with the court to be enforceable.
- Mediation – If both parents cannot reach an agreement on their own, then they may consider mediation. A mediator is a neutral third party who can help guide the parents to a resolution. Mediation allows both parents to express their concerns and work towards a solution that works for everyone involved. If an agreement is reached, the mediator will create a written agreement that can be filed with the court.
- Attorneys – If both parents are unable to come to an agreement through mediation, then they may consider hiring attorneys to reach a resolution. Each parent would hire their own attorney who would negotiate on their behalf. The attorneys can work together to find a solution that works for both parties. Once an agreement is reached, the attorneys will create a written agreement that can be filed with the court.
No matter what option you choose, making changes to your parenting plan can be a stressful and overwhelming process. Remember to always consider what is in the best interests of your child and work towards a solution that benefits everyone involved. If you need help navigating this process, consider contacting a family law attorney who can give you advice on the best course of action to take and guide you through the process from start to finish.
Need Help Modifying a Child Custody Agreement? Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Experienced Child Custody Lawyers in Chesterfield Today!
Changing a child custody schedule can be complicated and stressful, but if you follow the legal requirements and present compelling evidence, you can increase the chances of having your modification request approved.
At Galmiche Law Firm, P.C., we have been helping our clients successfully handle child custody modification issues for decades. As our clients’ testimonials prove, whether you choose to adjust your child custody schedule inside or outside of the courtroom, we can help you secure the most favorable outcome possible for your situation.
If you’re considering changing your child custody schedule to accommodate new circumstances, connect with us online or call us at (636) 552-4841 today to schedule a free consultation with our experienced child custody modification attorneys in Chesterfield.