A child custody agreement is a critical part of divorce or separation proceedings, but circumstances can change, necessitating a modification. As a seasoned Missouri family law attorney, I will guide you through the process of changing a child custody agreement in Missouri.
The Need for Change
A child custody agreement can be modified if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances that makes the existing agreement unworkable. These changes might include relocation, a change in the child's needs, or a change in the parent's ability to provide care.
The Process of Modifying a Child Custody Agreement
1. Identify a Significant Change: Before requesting a change, you must identify a significant and continuing change in circumstances.
2. File a Motion: The next step is to file a motion to modify the child custody agreement with the court that issued the initial custody order.
3. Serve the Other Party: The other party must be formally notified of the motion.
4. Attend a Hearing: Both parties will attend a court hearing where they can present evidence and make arguments.
5. Court’s Decision: The court will decide whether a modification is warranted based on the child's best interest.
Child's Best Interest
When deciding whether to modify a custody agreement, Missouri courts consider the child's best interest. This includes factors such as the child's wishes, the parents' wishes, the child's adjustment to home, school, and community, and the mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
Role of a Family Law Attorney
Modifying a child custody agreement can be a complex process. An experienced Missouri family law attorney can provide legal guidance, help you gather and present evidence, and represent your interests in court.
Changing a child custody agreement in Missouri involves identifying a substantial change in circumstances, filing a motion with the court, and advocating for the child's best interest. A skilled Missouri family law attorney can provide essential support throughout this process.