Jacquelyn S. Gonz, Attorney At Law Llc

How to modify your visitation schedule in Missouri

Life is constantly changing. We cannot stop it, so we have to embrace the change for what it is. Unfortunately, change isn’t always easy. It’s especially true when children are involved.

There are situations where change is necessary for a child custody agreement, but how do you tackle that task? There are two ways to modify your agreement, depending on the type of change you are personally going through.

A temporary adjustment

The courts allow parents to make a temporary modification to visitation for specific circumstances, such as:

  • Family emergencies
  • Illness of a parent or child
  • A special event that requires a temporary adjustment
  • A vacation

As the parents, you can avoid court altogether by facilitating a compromise. You may be able to schedule an alternate time for the children to see you or for you to go and see them if the circumstances allow. If your former spouse refuses to compromise, you may have to go to court to arrange a change in custody.

A permanent change

There are situations where permanent changes are necessary for custody agreements. Perhaps you are moving for a job or being close to another family member. You will still want to see your children consistently; the courts can help with that.

First, let the other parent know before starting any legal changes. You may be able to avoid court possibly if you can both agree. If the changes are significant or the parents cannot agree, you file for a motion to modify child custody.

It results in a new court hearing where both parents appear and state their arguments for why the custody agreement should stay the same or change. The judge will ultimately decide based on what’s best for the children.

If the judge changes child custody, you will need to draft a new parenting plan to address the changes in the agreement. It is not an easy task and could take between months and years to successfully modify custody. Make sure you have a proper reason to change your agreement before heading into court.

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