Child Custody Modification
As much as we would hope otherwise, original Judgments and Parenting Plans cannot read into the future and account for every contingency as time moves on and children grow up. Circumstances will change, and when they do, the Judgment and/or Parenting Plan may need to change as well.
A party can return to court and file a Motion to Modify when such changes occur. In order to seek a modification in a custody order or Parenting Plan, a party must set out sufficient facts that show a change in circumstances from the time of the Judgment and that one or more provisions of the Judgment are no longer in the best interests of the child. If the standard seems somewhat lacking in specificity, it is somewhat by design – ultimately, the court must do what is best for the children.
But the court is not without guidance. It considers the same factors used when making the original custody determination: the wishes of the parents; the need to assure a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and which parent would be more likely to facilitate that relationship; the interaction of the child with parents, siblings and other family members; which parent would more likely allow frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent; the child’s adjustment to home, school and community; the mental and physical health of both parents, including any issues of domestic violence; the intention of either parent to relocate; and the wishes of the child, if the child is sufficiently mature to express such wishes.
Generally, when a party seeks a modification, it involves a change in legal custody, a change in physical custody, a change in the Parenting Plan, or sometimes all three. A change in legal or physical custody requires a higher showing of changed circumstances than is required for a change in the Parenting Plan.
Modifications are very complicated and often complex matters, particularly if a party seeks a change in both legal and physical custody. It begins to resemble a contested divorce, and the procedures are generally very similar. To chart the most beneficial course for your modification proceeding, you need to consult with a skilled and experienced attorney.
At The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C, we have over fifty years of combined experience handling family law matters. We help individuals understand their rights with regard to all issues, including custody modifications. We have handled hundreds of trials before family court judges; if you choose The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C., you will have the benefit of a family law attorney unafraid to go to court, advocate on your behalf and fully present your case.
Time to Act
Time is of the essence. As soon as you select The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. to represent you, we will immediately put our considerable experience and resources to work on your case. The sooner we can review the necessary information, the sooner we can formulate a strategy for your unique circumstances, helping to insure the best possible outcome.
Contact The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C.
Send us an email or call us at 314-993-6300 for an initial consultation with one of our experienced St. Louis family law attorneys.