What Constitutes a Change in Circumstances in Missouri Custody?


If you are going through a second child custody matter with the same kids and the same co-parent, it’s not all that uncommon. It might feel weird and scary to go through this again, but it happens all the time in Missouri. There are even laws built around the inevitable fact of life that circumstances change.

In Missouri, going through a custody matter the second time requires a motion to modify, and under Missouri law, usually requires a serious change in circumstances. Experts like the Cordell & Cordell law professionals would say, that’s part of growing up. It’s time to find a new family plan as everybody has grown. Here we discuss what it really means to have a change in circumstances that warrants a motion to modify a current custody order.

What Qualifies as a Change in Circumstance?

The key factor in a motion to modify is a change of circumstances. This happens when kids grow up, or the lives of their parents change. Sometimes an existing order just becomes outdated, or a parent won’t comply with it on a regular basis. Sometimes parents become unreasonable because they don’t think a custody matter will crop up again if there’s an order in place already.

But it can. A new pattern of unreasonable behavior can be enough of a change in circumstances to warrant a motion to change.

Other elements might be that a parent needs to relocate, a remarriage happens, children grow older and have needs different from the family plan, or a special needs matter is in the picture now. It’s family, so circumstances are going to change and everybody’s will be different.

What Do You Need for a Motion to Modify?

In order to file a motion to modify, you need to meet a few requirements under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) of Missouri.

  • You need a change of circumstances
  • You need to show that the change makes the existing order unreasonable to follow
  • The motion needs to be in the child’s best interests

Talk to a lawyer to fine-tune your motion to modify when your circumstances change. That’s the best way to ensure you can get what is in your child’s best interests.

Talk to a Missouri Lawyer Today

If you aren’t sure if your situation warrants a change, it never hurts to ask for advice. The team at Cordell & Cordell has spent their lives helping Missouri residents file their motion to modify successfully.

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