When you divorce in Missouri, the courts have to make numerous decisions on your behalf unless you file an uncontested divorce. After reviewing family circumstances and possibly hearing testimony, the Missouri family courts will find a way to split up your assets, divvy up parental authority, allocate parenting time, and order necessary child or spousal support to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome.
However, the specifics of your family circumstances directly influence what terms the courts set. When your family circumstances change, the court orders related to your divorce may need updating, too. Those who feel like the initial orders from their divorce no longer reflect the reality of their family’s circumstances may want to consider requesting a modification hearing.
What is a modification?
A modification is a formal change or alteration to the terms originally set in your divorce. The courts can issue a modification that relates to support or custody. Often, because these two areas of family law overlap, both areas may change simultaneously, as a change in the amount of parenting time one parent has can also influence what obligation they have to pay child support.
Although some couples do reach informal arrangements to change custody or support arrangements, such informal agreements leave people vulnerable. One spouse can still request enforcement efforts, or the state could take them on their own, particularly if the children receive some kind of financial support from the state. By making the changes formal, you protect yourself, your assets and access to your children.
Modifications don’t have to be a contentious process
Although you and your ex may not agree on everything, you may agree that letting you take the children for more time over the summer will benefit the whole family. Provided that you are on the same page regarding the modification, you can request an uncontested modification, which typically only requires that the courts approve the terms after verifying that they comply with state law.
Even if your ex doesn’t agree with the modification you want, if you believe you have a valid reason to pursue the change, you can request contested modification proceedings. In that situation, you can both present evidence, and the courts will make a determination based on the facts available.