When Can You Get a Child Custody Modification in Missouri?

Technically speaking, a child custody order or child custody agreement is never truly finalized until your kid turns eighteen. There is always the possibility that the terms of the child custody arrangement will need to be modified. That being said, modification will only be ordered by a court if certain criteria are met. Here, our experienced Kansas City child custody attorney explains the legal requirements for getting an order or arrangement modified in Missouri.   The Substantial Change in Circumstances Standard To get a court ordered child custody modification in Missouri, you will need to demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. This change in circumstances must be significant, to the extent that it makes the original child custody order no longer applicable or no longer in the best interests of your children. Some common examples of circumstances that often qualify as sufficiently “substantial” under Missouri law include:

  • The relocation of one (or both) of the parents;
  • A parent getting a new job or losing a job;
  • New material evidence regarding parental fitness;
  • A re-marriage or the introduction of a new life partner; and
  • For older children, changes in the child’s desired living arrangement.
  The Best Interests of the Child Always Come First Missouri family law courts handle all child custody issues under the state’s best interests of the child legal standard. Ultimately, a court will not approve any modification that does not serve the best interests of the child in question. In fact, though unusual, a Missouri court even has the authority to block a voluntary child custody modification agreement on the grounds that it does not serve the child’s interests.   The Process for Seeking a Change   Mutual Agreement Ideally, parents will come to a mutual agreement regarding a proposed child custody modification. When an agreement can be reached, whether through mediation or informal negotiation, parents can together submit their plan for court approval, without needing to go through a hearing.   A Motion to Modify Of course, mutual agreement is not always possible. In some cases, parents will need to seek a child custody modification over the objection of the child’s other parent. When this happens, a Motion to Modify Child Custody must be filed. As this is a more complicated process, parents in this situation should always seek assistance from a qualified family law attorney.   Contact Our Kansas City Child Custody Lawyer Today   At the Law Offices of Larry S. Buccero LLC, we have extensive experience handling all aspects of Missouri child custody modification cases. To find out more about what we can do for you, please do not hesitate to call us today at (816) 842-6228 for immediate legal assistance. From our office in Independence, MO, we represent individuals and families throughout the Kansas City metro area