Modifying Your Parenting Plan In Missouri
If the parenting plan and/or child support you and your former spouse agreed to at the time of your divorce just isn’t working anymore, you may be considering trying to make changes. While your best bet is to talk things through with your ex and try to come to an agreement that can be formalized, in some situations that may be difficult to do. That’s when having a trusted local family law attorney by your side can be very useful.
When you and your former spouse both recognize that minor changes in the parenting plan would be beneficial to everyone involved, those changes can be made without going to court or having a hearing. Maybe the child is involved in activities that make it appropriate to change regular visitation days, or perhaps one parent’s schedule at work has been altered, making it practical to adjust the parenting plan. When both parents are on board for such changes, you can save yourself the trouble of going to court by simply writing up your own agreement in which both parents stipulate that the changes are agreed to and then filing a Motion of Stipulation.
When Parents Cannot Agree
In the event your former spouse is unwilling to concede that the changes you are requesting are reasonable and/or necessary, it may be time to have your lawyer get involved. You will need to fill out a Motion to Modify Child Custody form and demonstrate that the changes you are hoping to make would be in the child’s best interest. To get the Court’s approval for any changes, it will be incumbent upon you to demonstrate that circumstances have changed in ways that make altering the parenting agreement appropriate. Sometimes changes become suitable simply because a child grows and is involved in additional activities. Visitation schedules that are wholly appropriate for a toddler may not be right for a child in elementary or secondary school. If you are seeking changes, it will be up to you to present the court with the facts and documentation to prove that proposed changes would benefit your child. To be sure, when these matters are contested, it’s a pretty good bet that your ex will be ready to demonstrate that the requested changes would be detrimental to the child.
Remember the Basics
The standard rules still apply, and the Court will be keen to see if you are addressing some basic issues:
- Each parent should encourage a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent;
- Parenting issues, finances, and conflicts should not be discussed in the presence of the child;
- Medical, school, and other relevant information and records should be available to both parents.
It cannot be understated: despite the emotion and tension associated with some of these issues, it is essential that decorum and civility reign over any interactions with your former spouse and the Court. This is your family we are talking about. Protect your child by fighting for what’s in his or her best interest, all the while modeling respectful and appropriate behaviors. At Courtney & Mills, we recognize the importance of engagement in the courtroom. For representation that takes you in the right direction, contact our Springfield modification attorneys today for a confidential consultation.