If you are moving to Missouri from a different state and have a child custody order you want to make sure can be enforced or modified, it’s important to register it in the state of Missouri as a first step. To do this, one must first send to the court: (1) a letter requesting registration of the child custody order; (2) two copies of the child custody order, with one being certified; (3) a verified statement from you that to the best of your knowledge, said order has not been modified; and (4) your name and address, along with the name and address of the other parent who is also involved in the child custody order.
When the Court receives these items, the Court will file the child custody order as a foreign judgment and will serve notice to the other parent. Once the other parent is served, they will have 20 days to request a hearing to contest. If they don’t, then that will result in confirmation of the registration and will preclude any contest in the future.
If child support is also a part of your order, there are slightly different requirements for registering your foreign judgment. It is also important to note that just because a custody or support order is registered in Missouri, that does not mean it can be modified by a Missouri court. There are complex uniform codes that control which state has the jurisdiction to modify custody and support orders, and a different code applies to custody orders from that which applies to support orders. Due to the complexity of registering, enforcing and modifying judgments from other states, it is best to retain an attorney to assist with the process and to help you make the determination which state is the appropriate forum for any custody or support modification issues.
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