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What is a Parenting Plan Modification?

What is a Parenting Plan Modification?

When children are involved separation and parenting arrangements are always complicated. With our jobs, living arrangements, personal and social calendars, and lifestyles, it is only natural that other aspects of our lives adjust to reflect that. If something in your life or the life of your co-parent changes, a modification to your parenting plan may be in order.

Relationships evolve and sometimes, parenting plans may need to evolve along with those relationships. Certain provisions of plans may become outdated and rules may need to be applied differently.  Essentially, a modification is a way to deal with those changes times and to mold your parenting plan to fit your and your c0-parent’s lives.

So, what is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a legal agreement, crafted during a divorce proceeding, between two parents that defines how they will jointly raise their child/children. Such plans may include arrangements regarding the physical custody of their child, where the child will live on which days, including holidays and vacations. It may also be used to outline other details that come with raising children, such as medical care, extracurricular activities, daycare options, and so on. (Source:

When Can I Modify a Parenting Plan?

Sometimes a parenting plan may need to be modified simply because the child has outgrown the existing plan, or other life changes require updates to the plan. It is normal to require alterations to the parenting plan over time to make shared custody more realistic and doable for both parents and the child.

Possible reasons for a parenting plan modification may include:

  • One of the parents wants to move/relocate
  • Some part of the plan is no longer in the child’s best interest and that needs to be corrected
  • Changes in the child’s school location or education schedule
  • To prevent harm or danger to the child.
  • Remarriage of one of the parents.

How Does The Court Evaluate Modifications?

In Missouri, the court will determine whether the parent petitioning for the change has a just cause based on if there is a substantial AND continuing change of circumstances that will make the terms of the enacted plan unreasonable. The Court will also look at the following factors (among others) when making a determination regarding the modification.

  • Are both parents in agreement regarding the modification?
  • What is difference in the time the child spends with the custodial and noncustodial parent?
  • Is the child safe or no longer safe in his or her current living conditions?
  • Has one of the parents been held in contempt of court or otherwise refused to follow the parenting plan?
  • Has one of the parents interfered with the other parent’s custody or tried to kidnap the child?

How to Obtain a Parenting Plan Modification

To obtain a parenting plan modification, one parent must fill out the document “Motion to Modify.” The Court will then issue a summons which the petitioning parent is responsible on serving on the other parent (through sheriff or private process server), which tells him or her of the court action and the need to respond. The parent filing the petition must prove the substantial and continuing change that warrants the modification, which the court will determine.

Your family law attorney can help you with the legal proceedings, as well as help you prepare your petition for modification – or help you respond to a parenting plan modification summons. Your parenting plan will exist for as long as you are raising children. Getting legal advice whenever that plan is changed is highly recommended to protect your parental rights and ensure the best interests of your children.

Do you have a parenting plan that you think needs to be modified? Kotlyarov Law Group has extensive family law experience specifically dealing with modifications. To contact Kotlyarov Law Group and schedule a consultation, call (913) 725-0735.

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