If you share custody of a child, there will likely come a time when the terms agreed to in court are no longer compatible with your life or suit the best interest of the child. The good news is that although these terms may seem as though they are set in stone, they can be modified under certain circumstances. It is important to seek changes and modifications through the court, and not to simply adjust the terms on your own, even with the verbal agreement of your co-parent, as this can land you in contempt of court. Not to worry though, by understanding the requirements for a custody agreement modification and the steps needed to request them, you will be empowered to seek terms that are in the best interest of you, your child, and your ever evolving lives and needs.
Petitioning for a Change in Custody
There are many reasons that you may need to modify the terms of an existing custody order. For one, a custody agreement that was created when the child was an infant may no longer serve their best interest now that they are attending school. Additionally, one parent may have to relocate for work or other reasons, which would make it hard or even impossible to maintain frequent exchanges. Changes to either of the parents’ health or work schedules can also necessitate modifications, as can the evolving needs of the child. The child may have special or medical needs that one parent is better equipped to meet due to a less demanding schedule or closer proximity to their specialists. If, for any reason, you believe that your child custody agreement needs to be amended, the best thing to do first is speak with an attorney. An attorney will be able to review the circumstances of your case and determine what options are available and what steps are necessary to take. For instance, if you are relocating you may be required to notify the other parent in writing and give them the chance to object. It can also be beneficial to try and cooperate with your co-parent to arrive at mutually agreeable new terms that you can present to the court, which will increase their chance of being expeditiously approved, provided that they are found to be in the best interest of the child. However, you do not need the other parents’ approval or involvement to petition the court for a modification provided there has been a material change in circumstances and that it is in the best interest of the child to do so.
Schedule a Consultation With the Johnson Law Firm
If you have a child custody agreement in Missouri that is no longer serving the best interest of your child and you believe that the terms must be modified, the experienced child custody attorneys at the Johnson Law Firm are ready to help. Contact the Johnson Law Firm today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you and your family take the next step forward.