Judicial child custody orders can be modified if the Court finds that a changs has occurred in the circumstances of the child or his/her custodian and that modification is necessary to serve the child’s best interests. Section 452.410.1. Before a custody can be modified, there must be a significant or substantial change in circumstances. Kinner v. Scott, 216 S.W.3d 715, 718 (Mo. Ct. App. 2007).
To give an example, a change in marital status for a parent is a substantial change that can support modification. McIntosh v. McIntosh, 400 S.W.3d 860 (Mo. Ct. App. 2013). If the parent’s new spouse somehow adversely impacts the child’s welfare, the Court may appropriately change the custody decree. One important note is that modification of child custody — unlike a modification of child support — requires the change in circumstances be substantial or significant, not continuing. Child support requires a continuing change in circumstances to merit modification (e.g., a parent’ change in income or economic circumstances).
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