Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 452
Dissolution of Marriage, Divorce, Alimony and Separate Maintenance

August 28, 2013




Verified pleadings, form and content.

452.025. 1. All pleadings required to be verified under this chapter may at the time of execution be made by the acknowledgment thereof by the petitioner or respondent made before an officer authorized to administer oaths under the laws of this state, and evidenced by the officer's certificate, under official seal, attached or annexed to the pleading in form and content substantially as follows:

THE STATE OF ......................

COUNTY OF ...........................

(The undersigned), of lawful age, being duly sworn on his/her oath, states that he/she is the petitioner/respondent named above and that the facts stated in the ................. are true according to his/her best knowledge and belief.

............................ ..........

Petitioner/Respondent

Subscribed and sworn to before me this ............ day of .........., 20 ......

My commission expires: .................................

.............................. Notary Public

2. All references in this chapter regarding a "verified" document shall be satisfied by compliance with the requirements of subsection 1 of this section.

(L. 2004 S.B. 1211)



Remarriage of former spouse ends alimony.

452.075. When a divorce has been granted, and the court has made an order or decree providing for the payment of alimony and maintenance, the remarriage of the former spouse shall relieve the spouse obligated to pay support from further payment of alimony to the former spouse from the date of the remarriage, without the necessity of further court action, but the remarriage shall not relieve the former spouse from the provisions of any judgment or decree or order providing for the support of any minor children.

(L. 1957 p. 390 1, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)



Decree for alimony--a lien, when.

452.080. Upon a decree of divorce, the court may, in its discretion, decree alimony in gross or from year to year. When alimony is decreed in gross, such decree shall be a general lien on the realty of the party against whom the decree may be rendered, as in the case of other judgments. When such decree is for alimony from year to year, such decree shall not be a lien on the realty as aforesaid, but an execution in the hands of the proper officer, issued for the purpose of enforcing such decree, shall constitute a lien on the real and personal property of the defendant in such execution, so long as the same shall lawfully remain in the possession of such officer unsatisfied. In lieu of the lien of such decree for alimony from year to year, it is hereby provided that the party against whom such decree may be rendered shall be required to give security ample and sufficient for such alimony; but where default has been made in giving such security, the decree for alimony from year to year shall be a lien as in case of general judgments.

(RSMo 1939 1520, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 1356; 1919 1807; 1909 2376



Decree as to alimony only subject to review.

452.110. No petition for review of any judgment for divorce, rendered in any case arising pursuant to this chapter, shall be allowed, any law or statute to the contrary notwithstanding; but there may be a review of any order or judgment touching the alimony and maintenance of the spouse, and the care, custody and maintenance of the children, or any of them, as in other cases.

(RSMo 1939 1525, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 1361; 1919 1812; 1909 2381



Spouse abandoned, court to adjudge maintenance--execution to enforce.

452.130. When a person, without good cause, shall abandon his or her spouse, and refuse or neglect to maintain and provide for him or her, the circuit court, on his or her petition for that purpose, shall order and adjudge such support and maintenance to be provided and paid by such person for the spouse and the spouse's children, or any of them, by that marriage, out of his property, and for such time as the nature of the case and the circumstances of the parties shall require, and compel the person to give security for such maintenance, and from time to time make such further orders touching the same as shall be just, and enforce such judgment by execution, sequestration of property, or by such other lawful means as are in accordance with the practice of the court; and as long as said maintenance is continued, the person shall not be charged with the spouse's debts, contracted after the judgment for such maintenance.

(RSMo 1939 3376, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2989; 1919 7314; 1909 8295

CROSS REFERENCE:

Amounts paid under order of support, credited how, 454.280



No property exempt from attachment or execution, when.

452.140. No property shall be exempt from attachment or execution in a proceeding instituted by a person for maintenance, nor from attachment or execution upon a judgment or order issued to enforce a decree for alimony or for the support and maintenance of children. And all wages due to the defendant shall be subject to garnishment on attachment or execution in any proceedings mentioned in this section, whether the wages are due from the garnishee to the defendant for the last thirty days' service or not.

(RSMo 1939 3377, A.L. 1957 p. 391, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2990; 1919 7315; 1909 8296



Services and earnings of unmarried minor children--custody and control of.

452.150. The father and mother living apart are entitled to an adjudication by the circuit court as to their powers, rights and duties in respect to the custody and control and the services and earnings and management of the property of their unmarried minor children without any preference as between the said father and mother, and neither the father nor the mother has any right paramount to that of the other in respect to the custody and control or the services and earnings or of the management of the property of their said unmarried minor children; pending such adjudication the father or mother who actually has the custody and control of said unmarried minor children shall have the sole right to the custody and control and to the services and earnings and to the management of the property of said unmarried minor children.

(RSMo 1939 1526, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)

Prior revisions: 1929 1362; 1919 1813

CROSS REFERENCES:

Consent of parents necessary to adopt, 453.030 to 453.050

Custody of children, award on habeas corpus, 532.370

Transfer of custody of child prohibited, 453.110



Father and mother, parent, child, defined--how construed.

452.160. The terms of section 452.150 shall apply to children born out of wedlock and to children born in wedlock, and the terms "father and mother", "parent", "child", shall apply without reference to whether a child was born in lawful wedlock.

(RSMo 1939 1527)

Prior revision: 1929 1363

CROSS REFERENCE:

Issue of certain marriages legitimate, 474.080



Petition for enjoyment of spouse's separate estate, when.

452.170. If any married person shall hold real estate in his or her own right, and his or her spouse, by criminal conduct toward him or her, or by ill usage, shall give him or her cause to live separate and apart from him or her, such person may petition the circuit court, setting forth such facts, and therein pray that such estate may be enjoyed by him or her for his or her sole use and benefit.

(RSMo 1939 3386, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2999; 1919 7324; 1909 8305



Circuit court may make decree.

452.180. The circuit court, on due proof of such facts, may, in its discretion, make such order and decree in the premises as shall give such married person the sole use and benefit of such real estate, or such part thereof as it may think reasonable.

(RSMo 1939 3387, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 3000; 1919 7325; 1909 8306



Authorization by court to sell property.

452.190. When any married person shall abandon his or her spouse, or from worthlessness, drunkenness or other cause fail to make sufficient provision for his or her support, the circuit court of the county where he or she has his or her home and residence may, on his or her petition, authorize him or her to sell and convey his or her real estate, or any part thereof, and also any personal estate which shall, at the time, have come to such person by reason of the marriage, and which may remain within the state undisposed of by him.

(RSMo 1939 3378, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2991; 1919 7316; 1909 8297



Married person enjoined from squandering property at suit of spouse.

452.200. Any married person may file a petition in the circuit court, setting forth that his or her spouse, from habitual intemperance, or any other cause, is about to squander and waste the property, money, credits or choses in action to which he or she is entitled in his or her own right, or any part thereof, or is proceeding fraudulently to convert the same, or any part thereof, to the spouse's own use, for the purpose of placing the same beyond his or her reach, and depriving him or her of the benefit thereof; and the court, upon the hearing of the case, may enjoin the spouse from disposing of or otherwise interfering with such property, moneys, credits and choses in action, and may appoint a receiver to control and manage the same for the benefit of the petitioner, and may also make such other order in the premises as they may deem just and proper, and upon the filing of such petition an injunction may be allowed as in other cases, and such petition shall be filed in the county where said petitioner resides, and the spouse of said petitioner shall be made a party defendant to said petition.

(RSMo 1939 1682, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 1518; 1919 1968; 1909 2533



Court may authorize persons holding money of married person to pay spouse.

452.210. The court may also, upon the petition of such person, authorize any person holding money or other personal estate to which the spouse is entitled in his or her right to pay and deliver the same to the petitioner, and may authorize him or her to give a discharge for the same, which discharge shall be as valid as if made by the spouse.

(RSMo 1939 3379, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2992; 1919 7317; 1909 8298



Married person entitled to proceeds of earnings of his or her minor children, when.

452.220. Such married person, during the period his or her spouse shall fail to provide for his or her support, as stated in section 452.130, shall be entitled to the proceeds of the earnings of his or her minor children; and the same shall be under his or her sole control and shall not be liable in any manner for the spouse's debts.

(RSMo 1939 3380, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2993; 1919 7318; 1909 8299



Proceeds used for support of himself or herself and family.

452.230. All the proceeds of such sales, and all other money and personal estate which shall come to the hands of a person by force of the provisions of sections 451.250 to 451.300 and sections 452.130, 452.140, 452.170 to 452.190 and 452.210 to 452.250, may be used and disposed of by him or her for the necessary support of himself or herself and family.

(RSMo 1939 3381, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2994; 1919 7319; 1909 8300

CROSS REFERENCE:

Workers' compensation death benefits, rights of widows and children, 287.240



Filing of petition, proceedings.

452.240. The petition of a married person for any of the purposes before mentioned may be filed and the case heard and determined in the circuit court, and the like process and proceedings shall be had as in other civil suits triable before circuit judges.

(RSMo 1939 3382, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 2995; 1919 7320; 1909 8301



Proceedings on such petition--appeal allowed, when and where.

452.250. The same proceedings shall be had in relation to such petition as the law requires in other proceedings before circuit judges, and in relation to enforcing the orders and decrees, except that no appeal shall be allowed to the supreme court, or court of appeals, from any order or decree, on the part of the person's spouse, until he or she has indemnified the petitioner for all delays and costs, in such manner as the court shall direct.

(RSMo 1939 3388, A.L. 1973 S.B. 263, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634, A.L. 2001 H.B. 537)

Prior revisions: 1929 3001; 1919 7326; 1909 8307



Procedure and venue.

452.300. 1. The rules of the supreme court and other applicable court rules shall govern all proceedings pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415.

2. A proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or declaration of invalidity of marriage shall be entitled: "In re the Marriage of ..... and .....".

3. The initial pleading in an original proceeding pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415 shall be denominated a "petition" and the responsive pleading in an original proceeding shall be denominated an "answer". Other pleadings in an original proceeding and all pleadings in other proceedings pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415 shall be denominated as provided in the rules of the supreme court and other applicable court rules.

4. Any party who files the initial pleading in an original proceeding pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415 shall be denominated the "petitioner" and any party who is required to file or who files a responsive pleading in an original proceeding shall be denominated the "respondent". Each party shall retain such denomination from the original proceeding in any other proceedings pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415.

5. An original proceeding pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415 shall be commenced in the county in which the petitioner resides or in the county in which the respondent resides. If an original proceeding is commenced in the county in which the petitioner resides, upon motion by the respondent filed prior to the filing of a responsive pleading, the court in which the proceeding is commenced may transfer the proceeding to the county in which the respondent resides if:

(1) The county in which the respondent resides had been the county in which the children resided during the ninety days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding; or

(2) The best interest of the children will be served if the proceeding is transferred to the county in which the respondent resides because:

(a) The children and at least one parent have a significant connection with the county; and

(b) There is substantial evidence concerning the present or future care, protection and personal relationships of the children in the county.

6. In proceedings pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415, "judgment" shall include a "decree".

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 1, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Judgment of dissolution, grounds for--legal separation, when--judgments to contain Social Security numbers.

452.305. 1. The court shall enter a judgment of dissolution of marriage if:

(1) The court finds that one of the parties has been a resident of this state, or is a member of the armed services who has been stationed in this state, for ninety days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding and that thirty days have elapsed since the filing of the petition; and

(2) The court finds that there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved and that therefore the marriage is irretrievably broken; and

(3) To the extent it has jurisdiction, the court has considered and made provision for child custody, the support of each child, the maintenance of either spouse and the disposition of property.

2. The court shall enter a judgment of legal separation if:

(1) The court finds that one of the parties has been a resident of this state, or is a member of the armed services who has been stationed in this state, for ninety days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding and that thirty days have elapsed since the filing of the petition; and

(2) The court finds that there remains a reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved and that therefore the marriage is not irretrievably broken; and

(3) To the extent it has jurisdiction, the court has considered and made provision for the custody and the support of each child, the maintenance of either spouse and the disposition of property.

3. Any judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation shall include the last four digits of the Social Security numbers of the parties. The full Social Security number of each party and each child shall be retained in the manner required under section 509.520.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 2, A.L. 1997 S.B. 361, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Petition, contents--service, how--rules to apply--defenses abolished--parenting plans submitted, when, content, exception.

452.310. 1. In any proceeding commenced pursuant to this chapter, the petition, a motion to modify, a motion for a family access order and a motion for contempt shall be verified. The petition in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage shall allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that therefore there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved. The petition in a proceeding for legal separation shall allege that the marriage is not irretrievably broken and that therefore there remains a reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved.

2. The petition in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation shall set forth:

(1) The residence of each party, including the county, and the length of residence of each party in this state and in the county of residence;

(2) The date of the marriage and the place at which it is registered;

(3) The date on which the parties separated;

(4) The name, age, and address of each child, and the parent with whom each child has primarily resided for the sixty days immediately preceding the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation;

(5) Whether the wife is pregnant;

(6) The last four digits of the Social Security number of the petitioner, respondent and each child;

(7) Any arrangements as to the custody and support of the children and the maintenance of each party; and

(8) The relief sought.

3. Upon the filing of the petition in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, each child shall immediately be subject to the jurisdiction of the court in which the proceeding is commenced, unless a proceeding involving allegations of abuse or neglect of the child is pending in juvenile court. Until permitted by order of the court, neither parent shall remove any child from the jurisdiction of the court or from any parent with whom the child has primarily resided for the sixty days immediately preceding the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation.

4. The mere fact that one parent has actual possession of the child at the time of filing shall not create a preference in favor of such parent in any judicial determination regarding custody of the child.

5. The respondent shall be served in the manner provided by the rules of the supreme court and applicable court rules and, to avoid an interlocutory judgment of default, shall file a verified answer within thirty days of the date of service which shall not only admit or deny the allegations of the petition, but shall also set forth:

(1) The last four digits of the Social Security number of the petitioner, respondent and each child;

(2) Any arrangements as to the custody and support of the child and the maintenance of each party; and

(3) The relief sought.

6. Previously existing defenses to divorce and legal separation, including but not limited to condonation, connivance, collusion, recrimination, insanity, and lapse of time, are abolished.

7. The full Social Security number of each party and each child and the date of birth of each child shall be provided in the manner required under section 509.520.

8. The petitioner and respondent shall submit a proposed parenting plan, either individually or jointly, within thirty days after service of process or the filing of the entry of appearance, whichever event first occurs of a motion to modify or a petition involving custody or visitation issues. The proposed parenting plan shall set forth the arrangements that the party believes to be in the best interest of the minor children and shall include but not be limited to:

(1) A specific written schedule detailing the custody, visitation and residential time for each child with each party including:

(a) Major holidays stating which holidays a party has each year;

(b) School holidays for school-age children;

(c) The child's birthday, Mother's Day and Father's Day;

(d) Weekday and weekend schedules and for school-age children how the winter, spring, summer and other vacations from school will be spent;

(e) The times and places for transfer of the child between the parties in connection with the residential schedule;

(f) A plan for sharing transportation duties associated with the residential schedule;

(g) Appropriate times for telephone access;

(h) Suggested procedures for notifying the other party when a party requests a temporary variation from the residential schedule;

(i) Any suggested restrictions or limitations on access to a party and the reasons such restrictions are requested;

(2) A specific written plan regarding legal custody which details how the decision-making rights and responsibilities will be shared between the parties including the following:

(a) Educational decisions and methods of communicating information from the school to both parties;

(b) Medical, dental and health care decisions including how health care providers will be selected and a method of communicating medical conditions of the child and how emergency care will be handled;

(c) Extracurricular activities, including a method for determining which activities the child will participate in when those activities involve time during which each party is the custodian;

(d) Child care providers, including how such providers will be selected;

(e) Communication procedures including access to telephone numbers as appropriate;

(f) A dispute resolution procedure for those matters on which the parties disagree or in interpreting the parenting plan;

(g) If a party suggests no shared decision-making, a statement of the reasons for such a request;

(3) How the expenses of the child, including child care, educational and extraordinary expenses as defined in the child support guidelines established by the supreme court, will be paid including:

(a) The suggested amount of child support to be paid by each party;

(b) The party who will maintain or provide health insurance for the child and how the medical, dental, vision, psychological and other health care expenses of the child not paid by insurance will be paid by the parties;

(c) The payment of educational expenses, if any;

(d) The payment of extraordinary expenses of the child, if any;

(e) Child care expenses, if any;

(f) Transportation expenses, if any.

9. If the proposed parenting plans of the parties differ and the parties cannot resolve the differences or if any party fails to file a proposed parenting plan, upon motion of either party and an opportunity for the parties to be heard, the court shall enter a temporary order containing a parenting plan setting forth the arrangements specified in subsection 8 of this section which will remain in effect until further order of the court. The temporary order entered by the court shall not create a preference for the court in its adjudication of final custody, child support or visitation.

10. Within one hundred twenty days after August 28, 1998, the Missouri supreme court shall have in effect guidelines for a parenting plan form which may be used by the parties pursuant to this section in any dissolution of marriage, legal separation or modification proceeding involving issues of custody and visitation relating to the child.

11. The filing of a parenting plan for any child over the age of eighteen for whom custody, visitation, or support is being established or modified by a court of competent jurisdiction is not required. Nothing in this section shall be construed as precluding the filing of a parenting plan upon agreement of the parties or if ordered to do so by the court for any child over the age of eighteen for whom custody, visitation, or support is being established or modified by a court of competent jurisdiction.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 3, A.L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al., A.L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al., A.L. 2004 H.B. 1364 merged with S.B. 1211, A.L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Petition for dissolution filed when, requirements.

452.311. A petition is not filed within the meaning of supreme court rule 53.01 in any cause of action authorized by the provisions of this chapter, unless a summons is issued forthwith as required by supreme court rule 54.01, a verified and notarized entry of appearance of respondent is filed or an attorney files an entry of appearance on behalf of respondent.

(L. 1989 1st Ex. Sess. H.B. 2 7, A.L. 1991 S.B. 312, A.L. 2003 H.B. 613)



Parties' current employers and Social Security numbers to be contained in certain pleadings and decrees.

452.312. 1. Every petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, every motion for modification of a decree respecting maintenance or support, and every petition or motion for support of a minor child shall contain the last four digits of the Social Security number of the petitioner or movant, if a person, and the last four digits of the Social Security number of the respondent. The name and address of the petitioner's and respondent's current employer shall be provided and retained in the same manner as required under section 509.520.

2. Every responsive pleading to a petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, motion for modification of a decree respecting maintenance or support, and petition or motion for support of a minor child shall contain the name and address of the current employer and the last four digits of the Social Security number of the respondent, if the respondent is a person.

3. Every decree dissolving a marriage, every order modifying a previous decree of dissolution or divorce, and every order for support of a minor child shall contain the last four digits of the Social Security numbers of the parties, if disclosed by the pleadings.

4. The full Social Security number of each party and each child shall be retained in the manner required by section 509.520.

(L. 1984 H.B. 1275, A.L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Guardian for incapacitated person may file for dissolution or separation if ward is a victim of spousal abuse.

452.314. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a guardian for an incapacitated person may file a petition for dissolution of the marriage of, or if the incapacitated person has a history of religious objection to divorce, the guardian may file for a legal separation for such incapacitated person and may give testimony in support of the allegations contained in the petition, if the guardian has reasonable cause to believe that the incapacitated person has been the victim of abuse by the spouse of such incapacitated person.

(L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al.)



Authorized motions--restraining order, when, answer, when due, effect of--child support, temporary order, when, amount.

452.315. 1. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, either party may move for temporary maintenance and for temporary support for each child entitled to support. The motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth the factual basis for the motion and the amounts requested. In a proceeding for disposition of property, maintenance or support following the dissolution of the marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, either party may move for maintenance and for support of each child entitled to support. This motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth the factual basis for the motion and the amounts requested. This motion and the affidavit shall be served as though an original pleading upon the opposite party.

2. As a part of a motion for temporary maintenance or support or by independent motion accompanied by affidavit, either party may request the court to issue an order after notice and hearing:

(1) Restraining any person from transferring, encumbering, concealing, or in any way disposing of any property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life and, if so restrained, requiring the person to notify the moving party of any proposed extraordinary expenditures and to account to the court for all extraordinary expenditures made after the order is issued;

(2) Enjoining a party from harassing, abusing, molesting or disturbing the peace of the other party or of any child;

(3) Excluding a party from the family home or from the home of the other party upon a showing that physical or emotional harm would otherwise result;

(4) Establishing and ordering compliance with a custody order and providing for the support of each child.

3. The court may issue a restraining order only if it finds on the evidence that irreparable injury would result to the moving party if an order is not issued until the time for answering has elapsed.

4. An answer may be filed within ten days after service of notice of motion or at the time specified in the restraining order.

5. On the basis of the showing made and in conformity with section 452.335 on maintenance and section 452.340 on support, the court may issue a temporary injunction and an order for temporary maintenance or support in such amounts and on such terms as are just and proper in the circumstances.

6. A restraining order or temporary injunction:

(1) Does not prejudice the rights of the parties or the child which are to be adjudicated at subsequent hearings in the proceedings;

(2) May be revoked or modified prior to final judgment on a showing by affidavit of the facts necessary to revocation or modification of a final judgment pursuant to section 452.370; and

(3) Terminates when the final judgment is entered or when the petition for dissolution or legal separation is voluntarily dismissed.

7. The court shall enter a temporary order requiring the provision of child support pending the final judicial determination if there is clear and convincing evidence establishing a presumption of paternity pursuant to section 210.822. In determining the amount of child support, the court shall consider the factors set forth in section 452.340.

8. Any order entered in modification or vacation of any temporary order entered pursuant to this section may be retroactive to the date of entry of the original temporary order.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 4, A.L. 1997 S.B. 361, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Termination of insurance prohibited, when.

452.317. From the date of filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, no party shall terminate coverage during the pendency of the proceeding for any other party or any minor child of the marriage under any existing policy of health, dental or vision insurance.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910 3)



Counseling for minor children ordered, when, costs.

452.318. In any action for dissolution of marriage involving minor children, the court may order counseling for such children. The court may assess and apportion the costs of child counseling between the parties.

(L. 1999 S.B. 329 1)



Finding that marriage is irretrievably broken, when--notice--denial by a party, effect of--alternate findings.

452.320. 1. If both of the parties by petition or otherwise have stated under oath or affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or one of the parties has so stated and the other has not denied it, the court, after considering the aforesaid petition or statement, and after a hearing thereon shall make a finding whether or not the marriage is irretrievably broken and shall enter an order of dissolution or dismissal accordingly.

2. If one of the parties has denied under oath or affirmation that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the circumstances that gave rise to the filing of the petition and the prospect of reconciliation, and after hearing the evidence shall

(1) Make a finding whether or not the marriage is irretrievably broken, and in order for the court to find that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the petitioner shall satisfy the court of one or more of the following facts:

(a) That the respondent has committed adultery and the petitioner finds it intolerable to live with the respondent;

(b) That the respondent has behaved in such a way that the petitioner cannot reasonably be expected to live with the respondent;

(c) That the respondent has abandoned the petitioner for a continuous period of at least six months preceding the presentation of the petition;

(d) That the parties to the marriage have lived separate and apart by mutual consent for a continuous period of twelve months immediately preceding the filing of the petition;

(e) That the parties to the marriage have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of at least twenty-four months preceding the filing of the petition; or

(2) Continue the matter for further hearing not less than thirty days or more than six months later, or as soon thereafter as the matter may be reached on the court's calendar, and may suggest to the parties that they seek counseling. No court shall require counseling as a condition precedent to a decree, nor shall any employee of any court, or of the state or any political subdivision of the state, be utilized as a marriage counselor. At the adjourned hearing, the court shall make a finding whether the marriage is irretrievably broken as set forth in subdivision (1) above and shall enter an order of dissolution or dismissal accordingly.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 5, A.L. 1977 H.B. 470)



Separation agreements authorized, effect of--orders for disposition of property, when--terms of agreement, how enforced.

452.325. 1. To promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a marriage attendant upon their separation or the dissolution of their marriage, the parties may enter into a written separation agreement containing provisions for the maintenance of either of them, the disposition of any property owned by either of them, and the custody, support and visitation of their children.

2. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation, the terms of the separation agreement, except terms providing for the custody, support, and visitation of children, are binding upon the court unless it finds, after considering the economic circumstances of the parties and any other relevant evidence produced by the parties, on their own motion or on request of the court, that the separation agreement is unconscionable.

3. If the court finds the separation agreement unconscionable, the court may request the parties to submit a revised separation agreement or the court may make orders for the disposition of property, support, and maintenance in accordance with the provisions of sections 452.330, 452.335 and 452.340.

4. If the court finds that the separation agreement is not unconscionable as to support, maintenance, and property:

(1) Unless the separation agreement provides to the contrary, its terms shall be set forth in the decree of dissolution or legal separation and the parties shall be ordered to perform them; or

(2) If the separation agreement provides that its terms shall not be set forth in the decree, only those terms concerning child support, custody and visitation shall be set forth in the decree, and the decree shall state that the court has found the remaining terms not unconscionable.

5. Terms of the agreement set forth in the decree are enforceable by all remedies available for the enforcement of a judgment, and the court may punish any party who willfully violates its decree to the same extent as is provided by law for contempt of the court in any other suit or proceeding cognizable by the court.

6. Except for terms concerning the support, custody or visitation of children, the decree may expressly preclude or limit modification of terms set forth in the decree if the separation agreement so provides.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 6)

Effective 1-1-74



Disposition of property and debts, factors to be considered.

452.330. 1. In a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage or legal separation, or in a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of the marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or lacked jurisdiction to dispose of the property, the court shall set apart to each spouse such spouse's nonmarital property and shall divide the marital property and marital debts in such proportions as the court deems just after considering all relevant factors including:

(1) The economic circumstances of each spouse at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to the spouse having custody of any children;

(2) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property, including the contribution of a spouse as homemaker;

(3) The value of the nonmarital property set apart to each spouse;

(4) The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and

(5) Custodial arrangements for minor children.

2. For purposes of sections 452.300 to 452.415 only, "marital property" means all property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage except:

(1) Property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;

(2) Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent;

(3) Property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation;

(4) Property excluded by valid written agreement of the parties; and

(5) The increase in value of property acquired prior to the marriage or pursuant to subdivisions (1) to (4) of this subsection, unless marital assets including labor, have contributed to such increases and then only to the extent of such contributions.

3. All property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage and prior to a decree of legal separation or dissolution of marriage is presumed to be marital property regardless of whether title is held individually or by the spouses in some form of co-ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety, and community property. The presumption of marital property is overcome by a showing that the property was acquired by a method listed in subsection 2 of this section.

4. Property which would otherwise be nonmarital property shall not become marital property solely because it may have become commingled with marital property.

5. The court's order as it affects distribution of marital property shall be a final order not subject to modification; provided, however, that orders intended to be qualified domestic relations orders affecting pension, profit sharing and stock bonus plans pursuant to the U.S. Internal Revenue Code shall be modifiable only for the purpose of establishing or maintaining the order as a qualified domestic relations order or to revise or conform its terms so as to effectuate the expressed intent of the* order.

6. A certified copy of any decree of court affecting title to real estate may be filed for record in the office of the recorder of deeds of the county and state in which the real estate is situated by the clerk of the court in which the decree was made.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 7, A.L. 1981 H.B. 96, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1996 S.B. 869, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)

*Word "the" omitted from original rolls.

(2003) Section is more specific concerning authorization for modifying qualified domestic relations order and thus prevails over more general statute precluding modification of marital property division. Ricketts v. Ricketts, 113 S.W.3d 255 (Mo.App.W.D.).



Maintenance order, findings required for--termination date, may be modified, when.

452.335. 1. In a proceeding for nonretroactive invalidity, dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a court which lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order to either spouse, but only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:

(1) Lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him, to provide for his reasonable needs; and

(2) Is unable to support himself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.

2. The maintenance order shall be in such amounts and for such periods of time as the court deems just, and after considering all relevant factors including:

(1) The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to him, and his ability to meet his needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;

(2) The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment;

(3) The comparative earning capacity of each spouse;

(4) The standard of living established during the marriage;

(5) The obligations and assets, including the marital property apportioned to him and the separate property of each party;

(6) The duration of the marriage;

(7) The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(8) The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet his needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance;

(9) The conduct of the parties during the marriage; and

(10) Any other relevant factors.

3. The maintenance order shall state if it is modifiable or nonmodifiable. The court may order maintenance which includes a termination date. Unless the maintenance order which includes a termination date is nonmodifiable, the court may order the maintenance decreased, increased, terminated, extended, or otherwise modified based upon a substantial and continuing change of circumstances which occurred prior to the termination date of the original order.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 8, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al.)



Child support, how allocated--factors to be considered--abatement or termination of support, when--support after age eighteen, when--public policy of state--payments may be made directly to child, when--child support guidelines, rebuttable presumption, use of guidelines, when--retroactivity--obligation terminated, how.

452.340. 1. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child of the marriage to pay an amount reasonable or necessary for the support of the child, including an award retroactive to the date of filing the petition, without regard to marital misconduct, after considering all relevant factors including:

(1) The financial needs and resources of the child;

(2) The financial resources and needs of the parents;

(3) The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved;

(4) The physical and emotional condition of the child, and the child's educational needs;

(5) The child's physical and legal custody arrangements, including the amount of time the child spends with each parent and the reasonable expenses associated with the custody or visitation arrangements; and

(6) The reasonable work-related child care expenses of each parent.

2. The obligation of the parent ordered to make support payments shall abate, in whole or in part, for such periods of time in excess of thirty consecutive days that the other parent has voluntarily relinquished physical custody of a child to the parent ordered to pay child support, notwithstanding any periods of visitation or temporary physical and legal or physical or legal custody pursuant to a judgment of dissolution or legal separation or any modification thereof. In a IV-D case, the family support division may determine the amount of the abatement pursuant to this subsection for any child support order and shall record the amount of abatement in the automated child support system record established pursuant to chapter 454. If the case is not a IV-D case and upon court order, the circuit clerk shall record the amount of abatement in the automated child support system record established in chapter 454.

3. Unless the circumstances of the child manifestly dictate otherwise and the court specifically so provides, the obligation of a parent to make child support payments shall terminate when the child:

(1) Dies;

(2) Marries;

(3) Enters active duty in the military;

(4) Becomes self-supporting, provided that the custodial parent has relinquished the child from parental control by express or implied consent;

(5) Reaches age eighteen, unless the provisions of subsection 4 or 5 of this section apply; or

(6) Reaches age twenty-one, unless the provisions of the child support order specifically extend the parental support order past the child's twenty-first birthday for reasons provided by subsection 4 of this section.

4. If the child is physically or mentally incapacitated from supporting himself and insolvent and unmarried, the court may extend the parental support obligation past the child's eighteenth birthday.

5. If when a child reaches age eighteen, the child is enrolled in and attending a secondary school program of instruction, the parental support obligation shall continue, if the child continues to attend and progresses toward completion of said program, until the child completes such program or reaches age twenty-one, whichever first occurs. If the child is enrolled in an institution of vocational or higher education not later than October first following graduation from a secondary school or completion of a graduation equivalence degree program and so long as the child enrolls for and completes at least twelve hours of credit each semester, not including the summer semester, at an institution of vocational or higher education and achieves grades sufficient to reenroll at such institution, the parental support obligation shall continue until the child completes his or her education, or until the child reaches the age of twenty-one, whichever first occurs. To remain eligible for such continued parental support, at the beginning of each semester the child shall submit to each parent a transcript or similar official document provided by the institution of vocational or higher education which includes the courses the child is enrolled in and has completed for each term, the grades and credits received for each such course, and an official document from the institution listing the courses which the child is enrolled in for the upcoming term and the number of credits for each such course. When enrolled in at least twelve credit hours, if the child receives failing grades in half or more of his or her courseload in any one semester, payment of child support may be terminated and shall not be eligible for reinstatement. Upon request for notification of the child's grades by the noncustodial parent, the child shall produce the required documents to the noncustodial parent within thirty days of receipt of grades from the education institution. If the child fails to produce the required documents, payment of child support may terminate without the accrual of any child support arrearage and shall not be eligible for reinstatement. If the circumstances of the child manifestly dictate, the court may waive the October first deadline for enrollment required by this subsection. If the child is enrolled in such an institution, the child or parent obligated to pay support may petition the court to amend the order to direct the obligated parent to make the payments directly to the child. As used in this section, an "institution of vocational education" means any postsecondary training or schooling for which the student is assessed a fee and attends classes regularly. "Higher education" means any community college, college, or university at which the child attends classes regularly. A child who has been diagnosed with a developmental disability, as defined in section 630.005, or whose physical disability or diagnosed health problem limits the child's ability to carry the number of credit hours prescribed in this subsection, shall remain eligible for child support so long as such child is enrolled in and attending an institution of vocational or higher education, and the child continues to meet the other requirements of this subsection. A child who is employed at least fifteen hours per week during the semester may take as few as nine credit hours per semester and remain eligible for child support so long as all other requirements of this subsection are complied with.

6. The court shall consider ordering a parent to waive the right to claim the tax dependency exemption for a child enrolled in an institution of vocational or higher education in favor of the other parent if the application of state and federal tax laws and eligibility for financial aid will make an award of the exemption to the other parent appropriate.

7. The general assembly finds and declares that it is the public policy of this state that frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage is in the best interest of the child except for cases where the court specifically finds that such contact is not in the best interest of the child. In order to effectuate this public policy, a court with jurisdiction shall enforce visitation, custody and child support orders in the same manner. A court with jurisdiction may abate, in whole or in part, any past or future obligation of support and may transfer the physical and legal or physical or legal custody of one or more children if it finds that a parent has, without good cause, failed to provide visitation or physical and legal or physical or legal custody to the other parent pursuant to the terms of a judgment of dissolution, legal separation or modifications thereof. The court shall also award, if requested and for good cause shown, reasonable expenses, attorney's fees and court costs incurred by the prevailing party.

8. The Missouri supreme court shall have in effect a rule establishing guidelines by which any award of child support shall be made in any judicial or administrative proceeding. Said guidelines shall contain specific, descriptive and numeric criteria which will result in a computation of the support obligation. The guidelines shall address how the amount of child support shall be calculated when an award of joint physical custody results in the child or children spending equal or substantially equal time with both parents and the directions and comments and any tabular representations of the directions and comments for completion of the child support guidelines and a subsequent form developed to reflect the guidelines shall reflect the ability to obtain up to a fifty percent adjustment or credit below the basic child support amount for joint physical custody or visitation as described in subsection 11 of this section. The Missouri supreme court shall publish child support guidelines and specifically list and explain the relevant factors and assumptions that were used to calculate the child support guidelines. Any rule made pursuant to this subsection shall be reviewed by the promulgating body not less than once every four years to ensure that its application results in the determination of appropriate child support award amounts.

9. There shall be a rebuttable presumption, in any judicial or administrative proceeding for the award of child support, that the amount of the award which would result from the application of the guidelines established pursuant to subsection 8 of this section is the correct amount of child support to be awarded. A written finding or specific finding on the record in a judicial or administrative proceeding that the application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate in a particular case, after considering all relevant factors, including the factors set out in subsection 1 of this section, is required if requested by a party and shall be sufficient to rebut the presumption in the case. The written finding or specific finding on the record shall detail the specific relevant factors that required a deviation from the application of the guidelines.

10. Pursuant to this or any other chapter, when a court determines the amount owed by a parent for support provided to a child by another person, other than a parent, prior to the date of filing of a petition requesting support, or when the director of the family support division establishes the amount of state debt due pursuant to subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of section 454.465, the court or director shall use the guidelines established pursuant to subsection 8 of this section. The amount of child support resulting from the application of the guidelines shall be applied retroactively for a period prior to the establishment of a support order and the length of the period of retroactivity shall be left to the discretion of the court or director. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the amount resulting from application of the guidelines under subsection 8 of this section constitutes the amount owed by the parent for the period prior to the date of the filing of the petition for support or the period for which state debt is being established. In applying the guidelines to determine a retroactive support amount, when information as to average monthly income is available, the court or director may use the average monthly income of the noncustodial parent, as averaged over the period of retroactivity, in determining the amount of presumed child support owed for the period of retroactivity. The court or director may enter a different amount in a particular case upon finding, after consideration of all relevant factors, including the factors set out in subsection 1 of this section, that there is sufficient cause to rebut the presumed amount.

11. The court may award child support in an amount that provides up to a fifty percent adjustment below the basic child support amount authorized by the child support guidelines described under subsection 8 of this section for custody awards of joint physical custody where the child or children spend equal or substantially equal time with both parents.

12. The obligation of a parent to make child support payments may be terminated as follows:

(1) Provided that the state case registry or child support order contains the child's date of birth, the obligation shall be deemed terminated without further judicial or administrative process when the child reaches age twenty-one if the child support order does not specifically require payment of child support beyond age twenty-one for reasons provided by subsection 4 of this section;

(2) The obligation shall be deemed terminated without further judicial or administrative process when the parent receiving child support furnishes a sworn statement or affidavit notifying the obligor parent of the child's emancipation in accordance with the requirements of subsection 4 of section 452.370, and a copy of such sworn statement or affidavit is filed with the court which entered the order establishing the child support obligation, or the family support division for an order entered under section 454.470;

(3) The obligation shall be deemed terminated without further judicial or administrative process when the parent paying child support files a sworn statement or affidavit with the court which entered the order establishing the child support obligation, or the family support division for an order entered under section 454.470, stating that the child is emancipated and reciting the factual basis for such statement; which statement or affidavit is served by the court or division, as applicable, on the child support obligee; and which is either acknowledged and affirmed by the child support obligee in writing, or which is not responded to in writing within thirty days of receipt by the child support obligee;

(4) The obligation shall be terminated as provided by this subdivision by the court which entered the order establishing the child support obligation, or the family support division for an order entered under section 454.470, when the parent paying child support files a sworn statement or affidavit with the court which entered the order establishing the child support obligation, or the family support division, as applicable, stating that the child is emancipated and reciting the factual basis for such statement; and which statement or affidavit is served by the court or division, as applicable, on the child support obligee. If the obligee denies the statement or affidavit, the court or division shall thereupon treat the sworn statement or affidavit as a request for hearing and shall proceed to hear and adjudicate such request for hearing as provided by law; provided that the court may require the payment of a deposit as security for court costs and any accrued court costs, as provided by law, in relation to such request for hearing. When the division receives a request for hearing, the hearing shall be held in the manner provided by section 454.475.

13. The court may enter a judgment terminating child support pursuant to subdivisions (1) to (3) of subsection 12 of this section without necessity of a court appearance by either party. The clerk of the court shall mail a copy of a judgment terminating child support entered pursuant to subsection 12 of this section on both the obligor and obligee parents. The supreme court may promulgate uniform forms for sworn statements and affidavits to terminate orders of child support obligations for use pursuant to subsection 12 of this section and subsection 4 of section 452.370.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 9, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1989 1st Ex. Sess. H.B. 2, A.L. 1990 S.B. 834, A.L. 1993 S.B. 253, A.L. 1994 H.B. 1491 & 1134, A.L. 1995 S.B. 174, A.L. 1997 S.B. 361, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al. merged with S.B. 291, A.L. 2005 S.B. 420 & 344, A.L. 2007 S.B. 25, A.L. 2010 H.B. 1692, et al., A.L. 2011 H.B. 111)

(2000) Section requires child to receive credit for at least twelve hours to maintain eligibility to receive child support. Lombardo v. Lombardo, 35 S.W.3d 386 (Mo.App.W.D.).

(2004) Child's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder was manifest circumstance preventing successful completion of twelve credit hour requirement and thus continuing child support obligation. Pickens v. Brown, 147 S.W.3d 89 (Mo.App.W.D.).

(2004) Death of custodial parent of college student in compliance with section does not terminate existing child support obligation. Kreutzer v. Kreutzer, 147 S.W.3d 173 (Mo.App.S.D.).



Obligor may request affidavit, when--cause of action for failure to execute, when--false affidavit, penalty.

452.341. 1. Any person obligated under a judgment or order of a court to make installment payments of child support or spousal support may request from the person entitled to such support payments an affidavit attesting to the fact that the obligor is current in such support payments and that there are, on the date that the request is made, no installment payments due and unpaid. Upon such request by an obligor, any person entitled to child support or spousal support shall execute an affidavit as required by this section.

2. No affidavit shall be required to be executed if any installment of the obligor's support obligation is due or unpaid on the date that the request is made. If, however, any obligor who is current in payment of support obligations makes a request for a statement of that fact under this section and the person entitled to such support payment refuses or fails to execute the affidavit required by this section within ten days of the request, the obligor shall have a cause of action against such person for any damages caused by such failure or refusal and may, in addition to such cause of action, petition a court of competent jurisdiction to order the person entitled to the support obligation to execute the affidavit. Any person who executes a false affidavit under this section commits a class A misdemeanor as provided in section 575.050.

(L. 1986 H.B. 1479)



Summary of expenses paid on behalf of child, required when.

452.342. The court which issued a judgment or order of child support payments may, upon petition of the party obligated to make the payments and upon good cause shown, order the custodial parent to furnish the party having the support obligation with a regular summary of expenses paid by the custodial parent on behalf of the child. The court may prescribe the form and substance of the summary.

(L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al.)



All judgments and orders shall contain the parties' Social Security numbers.

452.343. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, every judgment or order issued in this state which, in whole or in part, affects child custody, child support, visitation, modification of custody, support or visitation, or is issued pursuant to section 454.470 or 454.475, shall contain the last four digits of the Social Security number of the parties to the action which gives rise to such judgment or order. The full Social Security number of each party and each child shall be retained in the manner required by section 509.520.

(L. 1997 S.B. 361 2, A.L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Support obligations, bond or other guarantee to secure, when required, procedure--default, effect of.

452.344. 1. Upon entry of an order for support or division of property under this chapter or otherwise, or at any time the court finds any of the elements which constitute grounds for attachment under section 521.010, the court, by its own motion or that of a party or assignee of a party, may require that the obligor provide sufficient security, bond or other guarantee to secure the obligation to make support payments or to secure the division of property, conditioned that the obligor will pay all support payments as they come due, together with interest thereon, and will abide the orders of the court with respect to division of property.

2. The bond shall be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the order for support or division of property is filed, and the bond may be entered into before the clerk, if the court or judge entering the order for support or division of property shall first approve of the security.

3. The court, upon default in the condition of the bond, shall enter judgment against the obligors on the bond, according to the circumstances of the case, including interest or damages, and may award execution thereon, or otherwise enforce such judgment, according to the rules and practice of the court.

(L. 1984 H.B. 1275)



Maintenance or support payments to circuit clerk or family support payment center, when--procedure--duties of parties--failure to pay, circuit clerk duties.

452.345. 1. As used in sections 452.345 to 452.350, the term "IV-D case" shall mean a case in which support rights have been assigned to the state of Missouri or where the division of child support enforcement is providing support enforcement services pursuant to section 454.400.

2. At any time the court, upon its own motion, may, or upon the motion of either party shall, order that maintenance or support payments be made to the circuit clerk as trustee for remittance to the person entitled to receive the payments. The circuit clerk shall remit such support payments to the person entitled to receive the payments within three working days of receipt by the circuit clerk. Circuit clerks shall deposit all receipts no later than the next working day after receipt. Payment by a nonguaranteed negotiable financial instrument occurs when the instrument has cleared the depository institution and has been credited to the trust account. Effective October 1, 1999, at any time the court may upon its own motion, or shall upon the motion of either party, order that support payments as required by section 454.530 be made to the family support payment center established in section 454.530 as trustee for remittance to the person entitled to receive the payments. However, in no case shall the court order payments to be made to the payment center if the division of child support enforcement notifies the court that such payments shall not be made to the center. In such cases, payments shall be made to the clerk as trustee until the division notifies the court that payments shall be directed to the payment center. Further, with the agreement of the division, the court may order payments to be made to the payment center prior to October 1, 1999.

3. The circuit clerk shall maintain records in the automated child support system which list the amount of payments, the date when payments are required to be made, and the names and addresses of the parties affected by the order. Nothing in this section shall prohibit the division of child support enforcement from entering information in the records of the automated child support system, as provided for in chapter 454.

4. The parties affected by the order shall inform the circuit clerk or the payment center established in section 454.530 of any change of address or of other conditions that may affect the administration of the order.

5. For any case in which an order for support or maintenance was entered prior to January 1, 1994, which has not been modified subsequent to that date, except a IV-D case, if a party becomes delinquent in maintenance or support payments in an amount equal to one month's total support obligation, the provisions of this subsection shall apply. If the circuit clerk has been appointed trustee under subsection 2 of this section, or if the person entitled to receive the payments files with the clerk an affidavit stating the particulars of the obligor's noncompliance, the circuit clerk shall send by regular mail notice of the delinquency to the obligor. This notice shall advise the obligor of the delinquency, shall state the amount of the obligation, and shall advise that the obligor's income is subject to withholding for repayment of the delinquency and for payment of current support, as provided in section 452.350. For such cases, the circuit clerk shall, in addition to the notice to the obligor, send by regular mail a notice to the obligee. This notice shall state the amount of the delinquency and shall advise the obligee that income withholding, pursuant to section 452.350, is available for collection of support delinquencies and current support, and if the support order includes amounts for child support, that support enforcement services, pursuant to section 454.425, are available through the Missouri division of child support enforcement of the department of social services.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 10, A.L. 1982 S.B. 468, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1479, A.L. 1990 S.B. 834, A.L. 1996 S.B. 869, A.L. 1997 S.B. 248 merged with S.B. 361, A.L. 1999 S.B. 291)

Effective 7-1-99



Medical assistance documentation provided, when.

452.346. Upon written request of a parent of a child, as defined in section 452.302, who is receiving medical assistance pursuant to section 208.151, the division of family services shall provide such parent with documentation that allows the child to obtain medical assistance. This section shall not apply to parents of children in the custody of a public agency.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910 6)



Notice of a child support establishment or modification proceeding, when--copy of the order provided, when.

452.347. In any proceeding before a court where child support may be established or modified for an applicant or recipient of child support services pursuant to chapter 454:

(1) The applicant or recipient of child support enforcement services shall be provided by any other party with notice pursuant to Rule 41 of the Missouri rules of civil procedures of all proceedings in which support obligations may be established or modified. Notice to an attorney representing a party is deemed notice on the party for purposes of this section; and

(2) A copy of any order establishing or modifying a child support obligation, or an order denying a modification shall be mailed to the division of child support enforcement by the court within fourteen days of issuance of such order.

(L. 1997 S.B. 361)

Effective 7-1-97



Withholding of income, voluntary or court may order, when, when effective--hearing, when--employer, duties, liabilities, fee--discharge or discipline of employee because of a withholding notice prohibited, penalty--civil contempt proceeding authorized--amendment, termination and priorities of withholdings.

452.350. 1. Until January 1, 1994, except for orders entered or modified in IV-D cases, each order for child support or maintenance entered or modified by the court pursuant to the authority of this chapter, or otherwise, shall include a provision notifying the person obligated to pay such support or maintenance that, upon application by the obligee or the Missouri division of child support enforcement of the department of social services, the obligor's wages or other income shall be subject to withholding without further notice if the obligor becomes delinquent in maintenance or child support payments in an amount equal to one month's total support obligation. The order shall also contain provisions notifying the obligor that:

(1) The withholding shall be for the current month's maintenance and support; and

(2) The withholding shall include an additional amount equal to fifty percent of one month's child support and maintenance to defray delinquent child support and maintenance, which additional withholding shall continue until the delinquency is paid in full.

2. For all orders entered or modified in IV-D cases, and effective January 1, 1994, for every order for child support or maintenance entered or modified by the court pursuant to the authority of this chapter, or otherwise, income withholding pursuant to this section shall be initiated on the effective date of the order, except that such withholding shall not commence with the effective date of the order in any case where:

(1) One of the parties demonstrates, and the court finds, that there is good cause not to require immediate income withholding. For purposes of this subdivision, any finding that there is good cause not to require immediate withholding must be based on, at least, a written determination and an explanation by the court that implementing immediate wage withholding would not be in the best interests of the child and proof of timely payments of previously ordered support in cases involving the modification of support orders; or

(2) A written agreement is reached between the parties that provides for an alternative arrangement. If the income of an obligor is not withheld as of the effective date of the support order, pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection, or otherwise, such obligor's income shall become subject to withholding pursuant to this section without further exception on the date on which the obligor becomes delinquent in maintenance or child support payments in an amount equal to one month's total support obligation. Such withholding shall be initiated in the manner provided in subsection 4 of this section. All IV-D orders entered or modified by the court shall contain a provision notifying the obligor that he or she shall notify the division of child support enforcement regarding the availability of medical insurance coverage through an employer or a group plan, provide the name of the insurance provider when coverage is available, and inform the division of any change in access to such insurance coverage. Any income withheld pursuant to this section for a support order initially entered on or after October 1, 1999, shall be paid to the payment center pursuant to section 454.530. Any order of the court entered on or after October 1, 1999, establishing the withholding for a support order as defined in section 454.460, or notice from the clerk issued on or after October 1, 1999, pursuant to this section for a support order shall require payment to the payment center pursuant to section 454.530.

3. The provisions of section 432.030 to the contrary notwithstanding, if income withholding has not been initiated on the effective date of the initial or modified order, the obligated party may execute a voluntary income assignment at any time, which assignment shall be filed with the court and shall take effect after service on the employer or other payor.

4. The circuit clerk, upon application of the obligee or the division of child support enforcement, shall send, by certified mail, return receipt requested, a written notice to the employer or other payor listed on the application when the obligated party is subject to withholding pursuant to the child support order or subsection 2 of this section. For orders entered or modified in cases known by the circuit clerk to be IV-D cases in which income withholding is to be initiated on the effective date of the order, and effective January 1, 1994, for all orders entered or modified by the court in which income withholding is to be initiated on the effective date of the order, the circuit clerk shall send such notice to the employer or other payor in the manner provided by this section at the time the order is entered without application of any party when an employer or other payor is identified to the circuit clerk by inclusion in the pleadings pursuant to section 452.312, or otherwise. The notice of income withholding shall be prepared by the person entitled to support pursuant to the order, or the legal representative of that person, on a form prescribed by the court, and shall be presented to the clerk of the court at the time the order of support is entered. The notice shall direct the employer or other payor to withhold each month an amount equal to one month's child support and maintenance until further notice from the court. In the event of a delinquency in child support or maintenance payments in an amount equal to one month's total support obligation, the notice further shall direct the employer or other payor to withhold each month an additional amount equal to fifty percent of one month's child support and maintenance until the support delinquency is paid in full. The notice shall also include a statement of exemptions which may apply to limit the portion of the obligated party's disposable earnings which are subject to the withholding pursuant to federal or state law and notify the obligor that the obligor may request a hearing and related information pursuant to this section. The notice shall contain the Social Security number of the obligor if available. The circuit clerk shall send a copy of this notice by regular mail to the last known address of the obligated party. A notice issued pursuant to this section shall be binding on the employer or other payor, and successor employers and payors, two weeks after mailing, and shall continue until further order of the court or the division of child support enforcement. If the notice does not contain the Social Security number of the obligor, the employer or other payor shall not be liable for withholding from the incorrect obligor. The obligated party may, within that two-week period, request a hearing on the issue of whether the withholding should take effect. The withholding shall not be held in abeyance pending the outcome of the hearing. The obligor may not obtain relief from the withholding by paying overdue support, if any. The only basis for contesting the withholding is a mistake of fact. For the purpose of this section, "mistake of fact" shall mean an error in the amount of arrearages, if applicable, or an error as to the identity of the obligor. The court shall hold its hearing, enter its order disposing of all issues disputed by the obligated party, and notify the obligated party and the employer or other payor, within forty-five days of the date on which the withholding notice was sent to the employer.

5. For each payment the employer may charge a fee not to exceed six dollars per month, which shall be deducted from each obligor's moneys, income or periodic earnings, in addition to the amount deducted to meet the support or maintenance obligation subject to the limitations contained in the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1673).

6. Upon termination of the obligor's employment with an employer upon whom a withholding notice has been served, the employer shall so notify the court in writing. The employer shall also inform the court, in writing, as to the last known address of the obligor and the name and address of the obligor's new employer, if known.

7. Amounts withheld by the employer or other payor shall be transmitted, in accordance with the notice, within seven business days of the date that such amounts were payable to the obligated party. For purposes of this section, "business day" means a day that state offices are open for regular business. The employer or other payor shall, along with the amounts transmitted, provide the date each amount was withheld from each obligor. If the employer or other payor is withholding amounts for more than one order, the employer or other payor may combine all such withholdings that are payable to the same circuit clerk or the family support payment center and transmit them as one payment, together with a separate list identifying the cases to which they apply. The cases shall be identified by court case number, name of obligor, the obligor's Social Security number, the IV-D case number, if any, the amount withheld for each obligor, and the withholding date or dates for each obligor, to the extent that such information is known to the employer or other payor. An employer or other payor who fails to honor a withholding notice pursuant to this section may be held in contempt of court and is liable to the obligee for the amount that should have been withheld. Compliance by an employer or other payor with the withholding notice operates as a discharge of liability to the obligor as to that portion of the obligor's periodic earnings or other income so affected.

8. As used in this section, the term "employer" includes the state and its political subdivisions.

9. An employer shall not discharge or otherwise discipline, or refuse to hire, an employee as a result of a withholding notice issued pursuant to this section. Any obligor who is aggrieved as a result of a violation of this subsection may bring a civil contempt proceeding against the employer by filing an appropriate motion in the cause of action from which the withholding notice issued. If the court finds that the employer discharged, disciplined, or refused to hire the obligor as a result of the withholding notice, the court may order the employer to reinstate or hire the obligor, or rescind any wrongful disciplinary action. If, after the entry of such an order, the employer refuses without good cause to comply with the court's order, or if the employer fails to comply with the withholding notice, the court may, after notice to the employer and a hearing, impose a fine against the employer, not to exceed five hundred dollars. Proceeds of any such fine shall be distributed by the court to the county general revenue fund.

10. A withholding entered pursuant to this section may, upon motion of a party and for good cause shown, be amended by the court. The clerk shall notify the employer of the amendment in the manner provided for in subsection 4 of this section.

11. The court, upon the motion of obligor and for good cause shown, may terminate the withholding, except that the withholding shall not be terminated for the sole reason that the obligor has fully paid past due child support and maintenance.

12. A withholding effected pursuant to this section shall have priority over any other legal process pursuant to state law against the same wages, except that where the other legal process is an order issued pursuant to this section or section 454.505, the processes shall run concurrently, up to applicable wage withholding limitations. If concurrently running wage withholding processes for the collection of support obligations would cause the amounts withheld from the wages of the obligor to exceed applicable wage withholding limitations and includes a wage withholding from another state pursuant to section 454.932, the employer shall first satisfy current support obligations by dividing the amount available to be withheld among the orders on a pro rata basis using the percentages derived from the relationship each current support order amount has to the sum of all current child support obligations. Thereafter, delinquencies shall be satisfied using the same pro rata distribution procedure used for distributing current support, up to the applicable limitation. If concurrently running wage withholding processes for the collection of support obligations would cause the amounts withheld from the wages of the obligor to exceed applicable wage withholding limitations and does not include a wage withholding from another state pursuant to section 454.932, the employer shall withhold and pay to the payment center an amount equal to the wage withholding limitations. The payment center shall first satisfy current support obligations by dividing the amount available to be withheld among the orders on a pro rata basis using the percentages derived from the relationship each current support order amount has to the sum of all current child support obligations. Thereafter, arrearages shall be satisfied using the same pro rata distribution procedure used for distributing current support, up to the applicable limitation.

13. The remedy provided by this section applies to child support and maintenance orders entered prior to August 13, 1986, notwithstanding the absence of the notice to the obligor provided for in subsection 1 of this section, provided that prior notice from the circuit clerk to the obligor in the manner prescribed in subsection 5 of section 452.345 is given.

14. Notwithstanding any provisions of this section to the contrary, in a case in which support rights have been assigned to the state or in which the division of child support enforcement is providing support enforcement services pursuant to section 454.425, the director of the division of child support enforcement may amend or terminate a withholding order issued pursuant to this section, as provided in this subsection without further action of the court. The director may amend or terminate a withholding order and issue an administrative withholding order pursuant to section 454.505 when the director determines that children for whom the support order applies are no longer entitled to support pursuant to section 452.340, when the support obligation otherwise ends and all arrearages are paid, when the support obligation is modified pursuant to section 454.500, or when the director enters an order that is approved by the court pursuant to section 454.496. The director shall notify the employer and the circuit clerk of such amendment or termination. The director's administrative withholding order or withholding termination order shall preempt and supersede any previous judicial withholding order issued pursuant to this or any other section.

15. For the purpose of this section, "income" means any periodic form of payment due to an individual, regardless of source, including wages, salaries, commissions, bonuses, workers' compensation benefits, disability benefits, payments pursuant to a pension or a retirement program and interest.

16. If the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services promulgates a final standard format for an employer income withholding notice, the court shall use or require the use of such notice.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 11, A.L. 1982 S.B. 468, A.L. 1984 H.B. 1275, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1479, A.L. 1987 H.B. 484, A.L. 1990 S.B. 834, A.L. 1993 S.B. 253, A.L. 1994 H.B. 1491 & 1134, A.L. 1997 S.B. 361, A.L. 1999 S.B. 291)

Effective 7-1-99



Modification of child support, attorney fees awarded to state, when.

452.354. In all proceedings for the modification of child support where the state is a party, the court may, upon motion, award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the state.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481 1)



Allocation of cost of action and attorney fees by court--actions for failure to pay child support, reasonable costs and attorney fees to be paid by obligor, when--definitions.

452.355. 1. Unless otherwise indicated, the court from time to time after considering all relevant factors including the financial resources of both parties, the merits of the case and the actions of the parties during the pendency of the action, may order a party to pay a reasonable amount for the cost to the other party of maintaining or defending any proceeding pursuant to sections 452.300 to 452.415 and for attorney's fees, including sums for legal services rendered and costs incurred prior to the commencement of the proceeding and after entry of a final judgment. The court may order that the amount be paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order in the attorney's name.

2. In any proceeding in which the failure to pay child support pursuant to a temporary order or final judgment is an issue, if the court finds that the obligor has failed, without good cause, to comply with such order or decree to pay the child support, the court shall order the obligor, if requested and for good cause shown, to pay a reasonable amount for the cost of the suit to the obligee, including reasonable sums for legal services. The court may order that the amount be paid directly to the attorney, who may enforce the order in his name.

3. For purposes of this section, an "obligor" is a person owing a duty of support and an "obligee" is a person to whom a duty of support is owed.

4. For purposes of this section, "good cause" includes any substantial reason why the obligor is unable to pay the child support as ordered. Good cause does not exist if the obligor purposely maintains his inability to pay.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 12, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Judgment of dissolution or legal separation final when entered--appeal, effect of--distribution of property final--conversion of judgment of legal separation to dissolution, when--notice, to whom.

452.360. 1. A judgment of dissolution of marriage or of legal separation is final when entered, subject to the right of appeal. An appeal from a judgment of dissolution that does not challenge the finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken does not delay the finality of that provision of the judgment which dissolves the marriage beyond the time for appealing from that provision, so that either of the parties may remarry pending appeal.

2. The court's judgment of dissolution of marriage or legal separation as it affects distribution of marital property shall be a final judgment not subject to modification.

3. No earlier than ninety days after entry of a judgment of legal separation, on motion of either party, the court may convert the judgment of legal separation to a judgment of dissolution of marriage.

4. On motion of both parties, the court shall set aside a judgment of legal separation.

5. The circuit clerk shall give notice of the entry of a judgment of legal separation or dissolution to the department of social services.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 13, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Party failing to comply with decree, effect of.

452.365. If a party fails to comply with a provision of a decree or temporary order or injunction, the obligation of the other party to make payments for support or maintenance or to permit visitation is not suspended but he may move the court to grant an appropriate order.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 14)

Effective 1-1-74



Modification of judgment as to maintenance or support, when--termination, when--rights of state when an assignment of support has been made--court to have continuing jurisdiction, duties of clerk, clerk to be "appropriate agent", when--severance of responsive pleading.

452.370. 1. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 6 of section 452.325, the provisions of any judgment respecting maintenance or support may be modified only upon a showing of changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unreasonable. In a proceeding for modification of any child support or maintenance judgment, the court, in determining whether or not a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, shall consider all financial resources of both parties, including the extent to which the reasonable expenses of either party are, or should be, shared by a spouse or other person with whom he or she cohabits, and the earning capacity of a party who is not employed. If the application of the child support guidelines and criteria set forth in section 452.340 and applicable supreme court rules to the financial circumstances of the parties would result in a change of child support from the existing amount by twenty percent or more, a prima facie showing has been made of a change of circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the present terms unreasonable, if the existing amount was based upon the presumed amount pursuant to the child support guidelines.

2. When the party seeking modification has met the burden of proof set forth in subsection 1 of this section, the child support shall be determined in conformity with criteria set forth in section 452.340 and applicable supreme court rules.

3. Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the judgment, the obligation to pay future statutory maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance.

4. Unless otherwise agreed in writing or expressly provided in the judgment, provisions for the support of a child are terminated by emancipation of the child. The parent entitled to receive child support shall have the duty to notify the parent obligated to pay support of the child's emancipation and failing to do so, the parent entitled to receive child support shall be liable to the parent obligated to pay support for child support paid following emancipation of a minor child, plus interest.

5. If a parent has made an assignment of support rights to the division of family services on behalf of the state as a condition of eligibility for benefits pursuant to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and either party initiates a motion to modify the support obligation by reducing it, the state of Missouri shall be named as a party to the proceeding. The state shall be served with a copy of the motion by sending it by certified mail to the director of the division of child support enforcement.

6. The court shall have continuing personal jurisdiction over both the obligee and the obligor of a court order for child support or maintenance for the purpose of modifying such order. Both obligee and obligor shall notify, in writing, the clerk of the court in which the support or maintenance order was entered of any change of mailing address. If personal service of the motion cannot be had in this state, the motion to modify and notice of hearing shall be served outside the state as provided by supreme court rule 54.14. The order may be modified only as to support or maintenance installments which accrued subsequent to the date of personal service. For the purpose of 42 U.S.C. 666(a)(9)(C), the circuit clerk shall be considered the "appropriate agent" to receive notice of the motion to modify for the obligee or the obligor, but only in those instances in which personal service could not be had in this state.

7. If a responsive pleading raising the issues of custody or visitation is filed in response to a motion to modify child support filed at the request of the division of child support enforcement by a prosecuting attorney or circuit attorney or an attorney under contract with the division, such responsive pleading shall be severed upon request.

8. Notwithstanding any provision of this section which requires a showing of substantial and continuing change in circumstances, in a IV-D case filed pursuant to this section by the division of child support enforcement as provided in section 454.400, the court shall modify a support order in accordance with the guidelines and criteria set forth in supreme court rule 88.01 and any regulations thereunder if the amount in the current order differs from the amount which would be ordered in accordance with such guidelines or regulations.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 15, A.L. 1982 S.B. 468, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1479, A.L. 1987 H.B. 484, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1990 S.B. 834, A.L. 1993 S.B. 253, A.L. 1994 H.B. 1491 & 1134, A.L. 1997 S.B. 361, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)

CROSS REFERENCES:

Court may abate past or future support obligation if custodial parent, without good cause, fails to honor visitation order, 452.340

Emancipation of child, factors determining, 452.340

(2011) Statutory presumption that an obligation to pay maintenance is terminated by remarriage can be overcome by an agreement in writing between the parties that either expressly or by implication extends that obligation. Simpson v. Simpson, 352 S.W.3d 362 (Mo.banc).



Declining jurisdiction in a modification proceeding, when.

452.371. 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection 1 of section 452.455 or subsection 6 of section 452.370 to the contrary, the court with jurisdiction may decline to exercise jurisdiction in any modification proceeding if such court finds that exercise of its jurisdiction would be clearly inconvenient to either party to the proceeding. The court shall consider the following factors in determining whether exercise of its jurisdiction would be clearly inconvenient:

(1) Place of residence of the parties;

(2) Location of witnesses; and

(3) The availability to either party of another more convenient court with jurisdiction.

2. A finding that a court is a clearly inconvenient forum pursuant to subsection 1 of this section may be made on the court's own motion or on the motion of either party to the proceeding.

3. If the court finds that it is an inconvenient forum and a court of another county is a more appropriate forum, and such court will accept jurisdiction of the case, the original court shall order a change of venue to the more appropriate forum and state the reasons for such change. The clerk shall transmit the original papers with a transcript of all docket entries to the clerk of the court to which the removal is ordered or the court may order the clerk to prepare a full transcript of the record and proceeding in the case, and transmit the same, duly certified with all the original papers in the civil action but not forming part of the record to the clerk of the court to which the removal is ordered.

(L. 1997 S.B. 361 4)

Effective 7-1-97



Mandatory educational sessions, when--alternative dispute resolution, when.

452.372. 1. When a person files a petition for dissolution of marriage or legal separation and the custody or visitation of a minor child is involved, the court shall order all parties to the action to attend educational sessions pursuant to section 452.605. Parties to a modification proceeding who previously have attended educational sessions pursuant to section 452.605 may also be required to attend such educational sessions.

2. In cases involving custody or visitation issues, the court may, except for good cause shown or as provided in subsection 3 of this section, order the parties to the action to participate in an alternative dispute resolution program pursuant to supreme court rule to resolve any issues in dispute or may set a hearing on the matter. As used in this section, "good cause" includes, but is not limited to, uncontested custody or temporary physical custody cases, or a finding of domestic violence or abuse as determined by a court with jurisdiction after all parties have received notice and an opportunity to be heard, but does not mean the absence of qualified mediators.

3. Any alternative dispute resolution program ordered by the court pursuant to this section may be paid for by the parties in a proportion to be determined by the court, the cost of which shall be reasonable and customary for the circuit in which the program is ordered, and shall:

(1) Not be binding on the parties;

(2) Not be ordered or used for contempt proceedings;

(3) Not be ordered or utilized for child support issues; and

(4) Not be used to modify a prior order of the court, except by agreement of the parties.

4. Within one hundred twenty days after August 28, 1998, the Missouri supreme court shall have a rule in effect allowing, but not requiring, each circuit to establish an alternative dispute resolution program for proceedings involving issues of custody and temporary physical custody relating to the child.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Paternity proceedings stayed for rape charges against putative father.

452.374. 1. If criminal charges alleging an act of rape are brought against the putative father of a child conceived as the result of that act of rape, the court shall issue an automatic stay of any paternity proceeding involving both the child and the alleged putative father. The stay shall not be lifted until there is a final disposition of such criminal charges.

2. In any future custody proceeding, any denial of visitation under this section shall not be used against the mother of the child when considering the factor contained in subdivision (4) of subsection 2 of section 452.375.

(L. 2012 S.B. 628)



Custody--definitions--factors determining custody--prohibited, when--public policy of state--custody options plan, when required--findings required, when--exchange of information and right to certain records, failure to disclose--fees, costs assessed, when--joint custody not to preclude child support--support, how determined--domestic violence or abuse, specific findings.

452.375. 1. As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) "Custody" means joint legal custody, sole legal custody, joint physical custody or sole physical custody or any combination thereof;

(2) "Joint legal custody" means that the parents share the decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority relating to the health, education and welfare of the child, and, unless allocated, apportioned, or decreed, the parents shall confer with one another in the exercise of decision-making rights, responsibilities, and authority;

(3) "Joint physical custody" means an order awarding each of the parents significant, but not necessarily equal, periods of time during which a child resides with or is under the care and supervision of each of the parents. Joint physical custody shall be shared by the parents in such a way as to assure the child of frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents;

(4) "Third-party custody" means a third party designated as a legal and physical custodian pursuant to subdivision (5) of subsection 5 of this section.

2. The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interests of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:

(1) The wishes of the child's parents as to custody and the proposed parenting plan submitted by both parties;

(2) The needs of the child for a frequent, continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents and the ability and willingness of parents to actively perform their functions as mother and father for the needs of the child;

(3) The interaction and interrelationship of the child with parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;

(4) Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the other parent;

(5) The child's adjustment to the child's home, school, and community;

(6) The mental and physical health of all individuals involved, including any history of abuse of any individuals involved. If the court finds that a pattern of domestic violence as defined in section 455.010 has occurred, and, if the court also finds that awarding custody to the abusive parent is in the best interest of the child, then the court shall enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. Custody and visitation rights shall be ordered in a manner that best protects the child and any other child or children for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights, and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence from any further harm;

(7) The intention of either parent to relocate the principal residence of the child; and

(8) The wishes of a child as to the child's custodian. The fact that a parent sends his or her child or children to a home school, as defined in section 167.031, shall not be the sole factor that a court considers in determining custody of such child or children.

3. (1) In any court proceedings relating to custody of a child, the court shall not award custody or unsupervised visitation of a child to a parent if such parent or any person residing with such parent has been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, any of the following offenses when a child was the victim:

(a) A felony violation of section 566.030, 566.032, 566.040, 566.060, 566.062, 566.064, 566.067, 566.068, 566.070, 566.083, 566.090, 566.100, 566.111, 566.151, 566.203, 566.206, 566.209, 566.212, or 566.215;

(b) A violation of section 568.020;

(c) A violation of subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of section 568.060;

(d) A violation of section 568.065;

(e) A violation of section 568.080;

(f) A violation of section 568.090; or

(g) A violation of section 568.175.

(2) For all other violations of offenses in chapters 566 and 568 not specifically listed in subdivision (1) of this subsection or for a violation of an offense committed in another state when a child is the victim that would be a violation of chapter 566 or 568 if committed in Missouri, the court may exercise its discretion in awarding custody or visitation of a child to a parent if such parent or any person residing with such parent has been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, any such offense.

4. The general assembly finds and declares that it is the public policy of this state that frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage is in the best interest of the child, except for cases where the court specifically finds that such contact is not in the best interest of the child, and that it is the public policy of this state to encourage parents to participate in decisions affecting the health, education and welfare of their children, and to resolve disputes involving their children amicably through alternative dispute resolution. In order to effectuate these policies, the court shall determine the custody arrangement which will best assure both parents participate in such decisions and have frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with their children so long as it is in the best interests of the child.

5. Prior to awarding the appropriate custody arrangement in the best interest of the child, the court shall consider each of the following as follows:

(1) Joint physical and joint legal custody to both parents, which shall not be denied solely for the reason that one parent opposes a joint physical and joint legal custody award. The residence of one of the parents shall be designated as the address of the child for mailing and educational purposes;

(2) Joint physical custody with one party granted sole legal custody. The residence of one of the parents shall be designated as the address of the child for mailing and educational purposes;

(3) Joint legal custody with one party granted sole physical custody;

(4) Sole custody to either parent; or

(5) Third-party custody or visitation:

(a) When the court finds that each parent is unfit, unsuitable, or unable to be a custodian, or the welfare of the child requires, and it is in the best interests of the child, then custody, temporary custody or visitation may be awarded to any other person or persons deemed by the court to be suitable and able to provide an adequate and stable environment for the child. Before the court awards custody, temporary custody or visitation to a third person under this subdivision, the court shall make that person a party to the action;

(b) Under the provisions of this subsection, any person may petition the court to intervene as a party in interest at any time as provided by supreme court rule.

6. If the parties have not agreed to a custodial arrangement, or the court determines such arrangement is not in the best interest of the child, the court shall include a written finding in the judgment or order based on the public policy in subsection 4 of this section and each of the factors listed in subdivisions (1) to (8) of subsection 2 of this section detailing the specific relevant factors that made a particular arrangement in the best interest of the child. If a proposed custodial arrangement is rejected by the court, the court shall include a written finding in the judgment or order detailing the specific relevant factors resulting in the rejection of such arrangement.

7. Upon a finding by the court that either parent has refused to exchange information with the other parent, which shall include but not be limited to information concerning the health, education and welfare of the child, the court shall order the parent to comply immediately and to pay the prevailing party a sum equal to the prevailing party's cost associated with obtaining the requested information, which shall include but not be limited to reasonable attorney's fees and court costs.

8. As between the parents of a child, no preference may be given to either parent in the awarding of custody because of that parent's age, sex, or financial status, nor because of the age or sex of the child.

9. Any judgment providing for custody shall include a specific written parenting plan setting forth the terms of such parenting plan arrangements specified in subsection 7 of section 452.310. Such plan may be a parenting plan submitted by the parties pursuant to section 452.310 or, in the absence thereof, a plan determined by the court, but in all cases, the custody plan approved and ordered by the court shall be in the court's discretion and shall be in the best interest of the child.

10. Unless a parent has been denied custody rights pursuant to this section or visitation rights under section 452.400, both parents shall have access to records and information pertaining to a minor child, including, but not limited to, medical, dental, and school records. If the parent without custody has been granted restricted or supervised visitation because the court has found that the parent with custody or any child has been the victim of domestic violence, as defined in section 455.010, by the parent without custody, the court may order that the reports and records made available pursuant to this subsection not include the address of the parent with custody or the child. Unless a parent has been denied custody rights pursuant to this section or visitation rights under section 452.400, any judgment of dissolution or other applicable court order shall specifically allow both parents access to such records and reports.

11. Except as otherwise precluded by state or federal law, if any individual, professional, public or private institution or organization denies access or fails to provide or disclose any and all records and information, including, but not limited to, past and present dental, medical and school records pertaining to a minor child, to either parent upon the written request of such parent, the court shall, upon its finding that the individual, professional, public or private institution or organization denied such request without good cause, order that party to comply immediately with such request and to pay to the prevailing party all costs incurred, including, but not limited to, attorney's fees and court costs associated with obtaining the requested information.

12. An award of joint custody does not preclude an award of child support pursuant to section 452.340 and applicable supreme court rules. The court shall consider the factors contained in section 452.340 and applicable supreme court rules in determining an amount reasonable or necessary for the support of the child.

13. If the court finds that domestic violence or abuse, as defined in section 455.010 has occurred, the court shall make specific findings of fact to show that the custody or visitation arrangement ordered by the court best protects the child and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence, as defined in section 455.010, and any other children for whom such parent has custodial or visitation rights from any further harm.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 16, A.L. 1982 S.B. 468, A.L. 1983 S.B. 94, A.L. 1984 H.B. 1513 subsecs. 1 to 5, 7, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1479, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1989 H.B. 422, A.L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al., A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 1995 S.B. 174, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453, A.L. 2005 H.B. 568, A.L. 2011 S.B. 320)

(2003) Provision prohibiting sole consideration of home schooling in custody determination applies to issue of whether such a factor constitutes a change in circumstances warranting modification. Heslop v. Sanderson, 123 S.W.3d 214 (Mo.App.W.D.).



Noncustodial parent's right to receive child's school progress reports--administrative fees to be set by school, when--exclusion of address of custodial parent, when.

452.376. 1. Unless a noncustodial parent has been denied visitation rights under section 452.400, such noncustodial parent or any parent who has joint custody of a child shall, upon request and payment of an administrative fee sufficient to cover the cost, receive any deficiency slips, report cards or pertinent progress reports regarding that child's progress in school. If a noncustodial parent has been granted restricted or supervised visitation because the court has found that the custodial parent or the child has been the victim of domestic violence or abuse, as defined in sections 455.010 and 455.501, by the noncustodial parent, the court may order that the reports and records made available pursuant to this subsection not include the address of the custodial parent or the child.

2. School districts shall annually set an administrative fee estimated to cover the costs of preparing, copying and mailing the student information required to be provided pursuant to this section.

(L. 1989 H.B. 422 1, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Relocation of child by parent for more than ninety days, required procedure--violation, effect--notice of relocation of parent, required procedure.

452.377. 1. For purposes of this section and section 452.375, "relocate" or "relocation" means a change in the principal residence of a child for a period of ninety days or more, but does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence.

2. Notice of a proposed relocation of the residence of the child, or any party entitled to custody or visitation of the child, shall be given in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, to any party with custody or visitation rights. Absent exigent circumstances as determined by a court with jurisdiction, written notice shall be provided at least sixty days in advance of the proposed relocation. The notice of the proposed relocation shall include the following information:

(1) The intended new residence, including the specific address and mailing address, if known, and if not known, the city;

(2) The home telephone number of the new residence, if known;

(3) The date of the intended move or proposed relocation;

(4) A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of a child, if applicable; and

(5) A proposal for a revised schedule of custody or visitation with the child, if applicable.

3. A party required to give notice of a proposed relocation pursuant to subsection 2 of this section has a continuing duty to provide a change in or addition to the information required by this section as soon as such information becomes known.

4. In exceptional circumstances where the court makes a finding that the health or safety of any adult or child would be unreasonably placed at risk by the disclosure of the required identifying information concerning a proposed relocation of the child, the court may order that:

(1) The specific residence address and telephone number of the child, parent or person, and other identifying information shall not be disclosed in the pleadings, notice, other documents filed in the proceeding or the final order except for an in camera disclosure;

(2) The notice requirements provided by this section shall be waived to the extent necessary to protect the health or safety of a child or any adult; or

(3) Any other remedial action the court considers necessary to facilitate the legitimate needs of the parties and the best interest of the child.

5. The court shall consider a failure to provide notice of a proposed relocation of a child as:

(1) A factor in determining whether custody and visitation should be modified;

(2) A basis for ordering the return of the child if the relocation occurs without notice; and

(3) Sufficient cause to order the party seeking to relocate the child to pay reasonable expenses and attorneys fees incurred by the party objecting to the relocation.

6. If the parties agree to a revised schedule of custody and visitation for the child, which includes a parenting plan, they may submit the terms of such agreement to the court with a written affidavit signed by all parties with custody or visitation assenting to the terms of the agreement, and the court may order the revised parenting plan and applicable visitation schedule without a hearing.

7. The residence of the child may be relocated sixty days after providing notice, as required by this section, unless a parent files a motion seeking an order to prevent the relocation within thirty days after receipt of such notice. Such motion shall be accompanied by an affidavit setting forth the specific factual basis supporting a prohibition of the relocation. The person seeking relocation shall file a response to the motion within fourteen days, unless extended by the court for good cause, and include a counter-affidavit setting forth the facts in support of the relocation as well as a proposed revised parenting plan for the child.

8. If relocation of the child is proposed, a third party entitled by court order to legal custody of or visitation with a child and who is not a parent may file a cause of action to obtain a revised schedule of legal custody or visitation, but shall not prevent a relocation.

9. The party seeking to relocate shall have the burden of proving that the proposed relocation is made in good faith and is in the best interest of the child.

10. If relocation is permitted:

(1) The court shall order contact with the nonrelocating party including custody or visitation and telephone access sufficient to assure that the child has frequent, continuing and meaningful contact with the nonrelocating party unless the child's best interest warrants* otherwise; and

(2) The court shall specify how the transportation costs will be allocated between the parties and adjust the child support, as appropriate, considering the costs of transportation.

11. After August 28, 1998, every court order establishing or modifying custody or visitation shall include the following language: "Absent exigent circumstances as determined by a court with jurisdiction, you, as a party to this action, are ordered to notify, in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, and at least sixty days prior to the proposed relocation, each party to this action of any proposed relocation of the principal residence of the child, including the following information:

(1) The intended new residence, including the specific address and mailing address, if known, and if not known, the city;

(2) The home telephone number of the new residence, if known;

(3) The date of the intended move or proposed relocation;

(4) A brief statement of the specific reasons for the proposed relocation of the child; and

(5) A proposal for a revised schedule of custody or visitation with the child. Your obligation to provide this information to each party continues as long as you or any other party by virtue of this order is entitled to custody of a child covered by this order. Your failure to obey the order of this court regarding the proposed relocation may result in further litigation to enforce such order, including contempt of court. In addition, your failure to notify a party of a relocation of the child may be considered in a proceeding to modify custody or visitation with the child. Reasonable costs and attorney fees may be assessed against you if you fail to give the required notice.".

12. Violation of the provisions of this section or a court order under this section may be deemed a change of circumstance under section 452.410, allowing the court to modify the prior custody decree. In addition, the court may utilize any and all powers relating to contempt conferred on it by law or rule of the Missouri supreme court.

13. Any party who objects in good faith to the relocation of a child's principal** residence shall not be ordered to pay the costs and attorney's fees of the party seeking to relocate.

(L. 1984 H.B. 1513 452.375 subsec. 6, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)

*Word "warrant" appears in original rolls.

**Word "principle" appears in original rolls.



Temporary custody, motion for--dismissal of action, effect of.

452.380. 1. A party to a custody proceeding may move for a temporary custody order. The motion must be supported by an affidavit. The court may award temporary custody after a hearing or, if there is no objection, solely on the basis of the affidavits.

2. If a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation is dismissed, any temporary custody order is vacated unless a parent or the child's custodian moves that the proceeding continue as a custody proceeding and the court finds, after a hearing, that the circumstances of the parents and the best interest of the child require that a custody decree be issued.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 17)

Effective 1-1-74



Child's wishes as to custodian, how determined.

452.385. The court may interview the child in chambers to ascertain the child's wishes as to his custodian and relevant matters within his knowledge. The court shall permit counsel to be present at the interview and to participate therein. The court shall cause a record of the interview to be made and to be made part of the record in the case.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 18)

Effective 1-1-74



Investigation and report on custodial arrangements for a child--how conducted--report due, when--material to be available to counsel and parties.

452.390. 1. The court may order an investigation and report concerning custodial arrangements for the child. The investigation and report may be made by the county welfare office, the county juvenile officer, or any other competent person.

2. In preparing his report concerning a child, the investigator may consult any person who may have information about the child and his potential custodial arrangements. Upon order of the court, the investigator may refer the child to professional personnel for diagnosis. The investigator may consult with and obtain information from medical, psychiatric, or other expert persons who have served the child in the past without obtaining the consent of the parent or the child's custodian, but the child's consent must be obtained if he has reached the age of sixteen, unless the court finds that he lacks mental capacity to consent.

3. At least ten days prior to the hearing the investigator shall furnish his report to counsel and to any party not represented by counsel. No one else, including the court, shall be entitled thereto prior to the hearing. The investigator shall make available to counsel and to any party not represented by counsel an investigator's file of underlying data and reports, complete texts of diagnostic reports made to the investigator pursuant to the provisions of subsection 2, and the names and addresses of all persons whom the investigator has consulted. Any party to the proceeding may call as witnesses the investigator and any person whom the investigator has consulted.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 19)

Effective 1-1-74



Custody proceedings, priority of--judge to determine law and fact--secrecy, when.

452.395. 1. Custody proceedings shall receive priority in being set for hearing.

2. The court without a jury shall determine questions of law and fact. If it finds that a public hearing may be detrimental to the child's best interests, the court may exclude the public from a custody hearing, but may admit any person who has a direct and legitimate interest in the particular case.

3. If the court finds it necessary to protect the child's welfare that the record of any interview, report, investigation, or testimony in a custody proceeding be kept secret, the court may make an appropriate order sealing the record.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 20, A.L. 1996 S.B. 869)

Effective 7-1-97



Visitation rights, awarded when--history of domestic violence, consideration of--prohibited, when--modification of, when--supervised visitation defined--noncompliance with order, effect of--family access motions, procedure, penalty for violation--attorney fees and costs assessed, when.

452.400. 1. (1) A parent not granted custody of the child is entitled to reasonable visitation rights unless the court finds, after a hearing, that visitation would endanger the child's physical health or impair his or her emotional development. The court shall enter an order specifically detailing the visitation rights of the parent without physical custody rights to the child and any other children for whom such parent has custodial or visitation rights. In determining the granting of visitation rights, the court shall consider evidence of domestic violence. If the court finds that domestic violence has occurred, the court may find that granting visitation to the abusive party is in the best interests of the child.

(2) (a) The court shall not grant visitation to the parent not granted custody if such parent or any person residing with such parent has been found guilty of or pled guilty to any of the following offenses when a child was the victim:

a. A felony violation of section 566.030, 566.032, 566.040, 566.060, 566.062, 566.064, 566.067, 566.068, 566.070, 566.083, 566.090, 566.100, 566.111, 566.151, 566.203, 566.206, 566.209, 566.212, or 566.215;

b. A violation of section 568.020;

c. A violation of subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of section 568.060;

d. A violation of section 568.065;

e. A violation of section 568.080;

f. A violation of section 568.090; or

g. A violation of section 568.175.

(b) For all other violations of offenses in chapters 566 and 568 not specifically listed in paragraph (a) of this subdivision or for a violation of an offense committed in another state when a child is the victim that would be a violation of chapter 566 or 568 if committed in Missouri, the court may exercise its discretion in granting visitation to a parent not granted custody if such parent or any person residing with such parent has been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, any such offense.

(3) The court shall consider the parent's history of inflicting, or tendency to inflict, physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault on other persons and shall grant visitation in a manner that best protects the child and the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence, and any other children for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights from any further harm.

(4) The court, if requested by a party, shall make specific findings of fact to show that the visitation arrangements made by the court best protect the child or the parent or other family or household member who is the victim of domestic violence, or any other child for whom the parent has custodial or visitation rights from any further harm.

2. (1) The court may modify an order granting or denying visitation rights whenever modification would serve the best interests of the child, but the court shall not restrict a parent's visitation rights unless it finds that the visitation would endanger the child's physical health or impair his or her emotional development.

(2) (a) In any proceeding modifying visitation rights, the court shall not grant unsupervised visitation to a parent if the parent or any person residing with such parent has been found guilty of or pled guilty to any of the following offenses when a child was the victim:

a. A felony violation of section 566.030, 566.032, 566.040, 566.060, 566.062, 566.064, 566.067, 566.068, 566.070, 566.083, 566.090, 566.100, 566.111, 566.151, 566.203, 566.206, 566.209, 566.212, or 566.215;

b. A violation of section 568.020;

c. A violation of subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of section 568.060;

d. A violation of section 568.065;

e. A violation of section 568.080;

f. A violation of section 568.090; or

g. A violation of section 568.175.

(b) For all other violations of offenses in chapters 566 and 568 not specifically listed in paragraph (a) of this subdivision or for a violation of an offense committed in another state when a child is the victim that would be a violation of chapter 566 or 568 if committed in Missouri, the division may exercise its discretion regarding the placement of a child taken into the custody of the state in which a parent or any person residing in the home has been found guilty of, or pled guilty to, any such offense.

(3) When a court restricts a parent's visitation rights or when a court orders supervised visitation because of allegations of abuse or domestic violence, a showing of proof of treatment and rehabilitation shall be made to the court before unsupervised visitation may be ordered. "Supervised visitation", as used in this section, is visitation which takes place in the presence of a responsible adult appointed by the court for the protection of the child.

3. The court shall mandate compliance with its order by all parties to the action, including parents, children and third parties. In the event of noncompliance, the aggrieved person may file a verified motion for contempt. If custody, visitation or third-party custody is denied or interfered with by a parent or third party without good cause, the aggrieved person may file a family access motion with the court stating the specific facts which constitute a violation of the judgment of dissolution, legal separation or judgment of paternity. The state courts administrator shall develop a simple form for pro se motions to the aggrieved person, which shall be provided to the person by the circuit clerk. Clerks, under the supervision of a circuit clerk, shall explain to aggrieved parties the procedures for filing the form. Notice of the fact that clerks will provide such assistance shall be conspicuously posted in the clerk's offices. The location of the office where the family access motion may be filed shall be conspicuously posted in the court building. The performance of duties described in this section shall not constitute the practice of law as defined in section 484.010. Such form for pro se motions shall not require the assistance of legal counsel to prepare and file. The cost of filing the motion shall be the standard court costs otherwise due for instituting a civil action in the circuit court.

4. Within five court days after the filing of the family access motion pursuant to subsection 3 of this section, the clerk of the court shall issue a summons pursuant to applicable state law, and applicable local or supreme court rules. A copy of the motion shall be personally served upon the respondent by personal process server as provided by law or by any sheriff. Such service shall be served at the earliest time and shall take priority over service in other civil actions, except those of an emergency nature or those filed pursuant to chapter 455. The motion shall contain the following statement in boldface type:

"PURSUANT TO SECTION 452.400, RSMO, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO RESPOND TO THE CIRCUIT CLERK WITHIN TEN DAYS OF THE DATE OF SERVICE. FAILURE TO RESPOND TO THE CIRCUIT CLERK MAY RESULT IN THE FOLLOWING: (1) AN ORDER FOR A COMPENSATORY

PERIOD OF CUSTODY, VISITATION OR

THIRD-PARTY CUSTODY AT A TIME

CONVENIENT FOR THE AGGRIEVED

PARTY NOT LESS THAN THE PERIOD OF

TIME DENIED; (2) PARTICIPATION BY THE VIOLATOR IN

COUNSELING TO EDUCATE THE

VIOLATOR ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF

PROVIDING THE CHILD WITH A

CONTINUING AND MEANINGFUL

RELATIONSHIP WITH BOTH PARENTS; (3) ASSESSMENT OF A FINE OF UP TO FIVE

HUNDRED DOLLARS AGAINST THE

VIOLATOR; (4) REQUIRING THE VIOLATOR TO POST

BOND OR SECURITY TO ENSURE

FUTURE COMPLIANCE WITH THE

COURT'S ORDERS; (5) ORDERING THE VIOLATOR TO PAY THE

COST OF COUNSELING TO REESTABLISH

THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP

BETWEEN THE AGGRIEVED PARTY AND

THE CHILD; AND (6) A JUDGMENT IN AN AMOUNT NOT LESS

THAN THE REASONABLE EXPENSES,

INCLUDING ATTORNEY'S FEES AND

COURT COSTS ACTUALLY INCURRED BY

THE AGGRIEVED PARTY AS A RESULT OF

THE DENIAL OF CUSTODY, VISITATION

OR THIRD-PARTY CUSTODY.".

5. If an alternative dispute resolution program is available pursuant to section 452.372, the clerk shall also provide information to all parties on the availability of any such services, and within fourteen days of the date of service, the court may schedule alternative dispute resolution.

6. Upon a finding by the court pursuant to a motion for a family access order or a motion for contempt that its order for custody, visitation or third-party custody has not been complied with, without good cause, the court shall order a remedy, which may include, but not be limited to:

(1) A compensatory period of visitation, custody or third-party custody at a time convenient for the aggrieved party not less than the period of time denied;

(2) Participation by the violator in counseling to educate the violator about the importance of providing the child with a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents;

(3) Assessment of a fine of up to five hundred dollars against the violator payable to the aggrieved party;

(4) Requiring the violator to post bond or security to ensure future compliance with the court's access orders; and

(5) Ordering the violator to pay the cost of counseling to reestablish the parent-child relationship between the aggrieved party and the child.

7. The reasonable expenses incurred as a result of denial or interference with custody or visitation, including attorney's fees and costs of a proceeding to enforce visitation rights, custody or third-party custody, shall be assessed, if requested and for good cause, against the parent or party who unreasonably denies or interferes with visitation, custody or third-party custody. In addition, the court may utilize any and all powers relating to contempt conferred on it by law or rule of the Missouri supreme court.

8. Final disposition of a motion for a family access order filed pursuant to this section shall take place not more than sixty days after the service of such motion, unless waived by the parties or determined to be in the best interest of the child. Final disposition shall not include appellate review.

9. Motions filed pursuant to this section shall not be deemed an independent civil action from the original action pursuant to which the judgment or order sought to be enforced was entered.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 21, A.L. 1977 S.B. 430, A.L. 1982 S.B. 468, A.L. 1983 S.B. 94, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1989 H.B. 422, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 1995 S.B. 174, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al., A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453, A.L. 2005 H.B. 568, A.L. 2013 S.B. 100)



Grandparent's visitation rights granted, when, terminated, when--guardian ad litem appointed, when--attorney fees and costs assessed, when.

452.402. 1. The court may grant reasonable visitation rights to the grandparents of the child and issue any necessary orders to enforce the decree. The court may grant grandparent visitation when:

(1) The parents of the child have filed for a dissolution of their marriage. A grandparent shall have the right to intervene in any dissolution action solely on the issue of visitation rights. Grandparents shall also have the right to file a motion to modify the original decree of dissolution to seek visitation rights when visitation has been denied to them; or

(2) One parent of the child is deceased and the surviving parent denies reasonable visitation to a parent of the deceased parent of the child; or

(3) The child has resided in the grandparent's home for at least six months within the twenty-four month period immediately preceding the filing of the petition; and

(4) A grandparent is unreasonably denied visitation with the child for a period exceeding ninety days. However, if the natural parents are legally married to each other and are living together with the child, a grandparent may not file for visitation pursuant to this subdivision.

2. The court shall determine if the visitation by the grandparent would be in the child's best interest or if it would endanger the child's physical health or impair the child's emotional development. Visitation may only be ordered when the court finds such visitation to be in the best interests of the child. However, when the parents of the child are legally married to each other and are living together with the child, it shall be a rebuttable presumption that such parents know what is in the best interest of the child. The court may order reasonable conditions or restrictions on grandparent visitation.

3. If the court finds it to be in the best interests of the child, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The guardian ad litem shall be an attorney licensed to practice law in Missouri. The guardian ad litem may, for the purpose of determining the question of grandparent visitation rights, participate in the proceedings as if such guardian ad litem were a party. The court shall enter judgment allowing a reasonable fee to the guardian ad litem.

4. A home study, as described by section 452.390, may be ordered by the court to assist in determining the best interests of the child.

5. The court may, in its discretion, consult with the child regarding the child's wishes in determining the best interest of the child.

6. The right of a grandparent to maintain visitation rights pursuant to this section may terminate upon the adoption of the child.

7. The court may award reasonable attorneys fees and expenses to the prevailing party.

(L. 1977 S.B. 430 2, A.L. 1984 H.B. 1513, A.L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1996 S.B. 869, A.L. 1998 S.B. 674, A.L. 2002 S.B. 923, et al., A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453)

(2000) Award of grandparent visitation to child's maternal step-grandparents not authorized pursuant to statute governing grandparent visitation rights. Hampton v. Hampton, 17 S.W.3d 599 (Mo.App.W.D.).

(2002) Section, as enacted prior to 2002 amendment in SB 923, et al., is constitutional under the standard enunciated in Troxel v. Granville, 520 U.S. 57 (2000). Blakely v. Blakely, 83 S.W.3d 537 (Mo.banc).

(2003) Section requires that ninety-day period occurs prior to entry of visitation order and not prior to filing of petition. Barker v. Barker, 98 S.W.3d 532 (Mo.banc).

(2004) Where prior dissolution judgment includes custody and visitation provisions allocating parental time and responsibilities, grandparent is limited to seeking visitation with grandchild through motion to modify dissolution decree rather than independent petition. Tompkins v. Ford, 135 S.W.3d 508 (Mo.App.W.D.).



Grandparent denied visitation, court may order mediation upon written request, purpose--costs--venue--termination of mediation, when.

452.403. 1. Upon the written request of a grandparent denied visitation with a grandchild, the associate division of the circuit court may order mediation with any party who has custody or visitation rights with the minor child and appoint a mediator. Such written request need not follow the rules of civil procedure and need not be written or filed by an attorney.

2. As used in this section, "mediation" is the process by which a neutral mediator appointed by the court assists the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable voluntary and consensual agreement in the best interests of the child as to issues of child care and visitation. The role of the mediator is to aid the parties in identifying the issues, reducing misunderstandings, clarifying priorities, exploring areas of common interest and finding points of agreement. An agreement reached by the parties shall be based on the decisions of the parties and not the decisions of the mediator. The agreement reached may resolve all or only some of the disputed issues.

3. At any time after the third mediation session, either party may terminate mediation ordered pursuant to this section.

4. The costs of the mediation shall be paid by the grandparent requesting the mediation order.

5. The venue shall be in the county where the child resides.

(L. 1992 H.B. 1492 l)



Neutral location for exchange of children, when.

452.404. To ensure compliance with the parenting plans or court orders, the court may require parents, or parents may agree, to bring the minor children to a neutral location for the exchange pursuant to such plans or orders. Such location may include a center specifically established for such exchanges or an existing location suitable for such exchanges. A neutral third party may be present at each exchange to provide an accurate documentation of the compliance or noncompliance with the ordered exchange.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910 5)



Custodian to determine child's upbringing, exception--continued supervision, when.

452.405. 1. Except as otherwise ordered by the court or agreed by the parties in writing at the time of the custody decree, the legal custodian may determine the child's upbringing, including his education, health care, and religious training, unless the court after hearing finds, upon motion by the parent without legal custody, that in the absence of a specific limitation of the legal custodian's authority the child's physical health would be endangered or his emotional development impaired.

2. The legal custodian shall not exercise legal custody in such a way as to significantly and detrimentally impact the other parent's visitation or custody rights.

3. The court may order the county welfare office or the county juvenile officer to exercise continuing supervision over the case.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 22, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Custody, decree, modification of, when.

452.410. 1. Except as provided in subsection 2 of this section, the court shall not modify a prior custody decree unless it has jurisdiction under the provisions of section 452.450 and it finds, upon the basis of facts that have arisen since the prior decree or that were unknown to the court at the time of the prior decree, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or his custodian and that the modification is necessary to serve the best interests of the child. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section or sections 452.375 and 452.400, any custody order entered by any court in this state or any other state prior to August 13, 1984, may, subject to jurisdictional requirements, be modified to allow for joint custody in accordance with section 452.375, without any further showing.

2. If either parent files a motion to modify an award of joint legal custody or joint physical custody, each party shall be entitled to a change of judge as provided by supreme court rule.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 23, A.L. 1978 H.B. 914, A.L. 1984 H.B. 1513, A.L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al.)

CROSS REFERENCE:

Court may transfer custody if custodial parent, without good cause, fails to honor visitation order, 452.340

(2007) Change in circumstances need not be substantial for modification of custody to accommodate changes of scheduling parenting time between mother and father. Russell v. Russell, 210 S.W.3d 191 (Mo.banc).



Change of residence deemed grounds for modification of custody, when.

452.411. If either parent of a child changes his residence to another state, such change of residence of the parent shall be deemed a change of circumstances under section 452.410, allowing the court to modify a prior visitation or custody decree.

(L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al. 10, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)

(2002) Section only applies when relocation occurs in violation of section 452.377. Baxley v. Jarred, 91 S.W.3d 192 (Mo.App.W.D.).



Military service of parent not to be a basis for modification of a visitation or custody order--limitations on issuance of certain court orders.

452.412. 1. A party's absence, relocation, or failure to comply with custody and visitation orders shall not, by itself, be sufficient to justify a modification of a custody or visitation order if the reason for the absence, relocation, or failure to comply is the party's activation to military service and deployment out-of-state.

2. For a party in active military service and deployed out-of-state, any court order:

(1) Issued or modified regarding child custody or visitation during the time of such out-of-state military deployment of the party, including as part of an entry of decree of dissolution of marriage or legal separation, shall be temporary in nature and shall not exceed the length of time of such deployment;

(2) Issued regarding ex parte adult or child orders of protection under sections 455.010 to 455.085 or sections 455.500 to 455.538, during the time of such out-of-state military deployment of the party, may be extended beyond the initial fifteen days required under sections 455.040 and 455.516. Such orders issued under this subdivision shall be temporary in nature and shall not exceed the length of time of such deployment.

Upon such party's return from out-of-state military deployment, the party shall be given an opportunity to be heard on the child custody and visitation order or ex parte order of protection prior to a permanent order being entered by the court as to such issues. If the party in active military service knowingly and voluntarily signs a written waiver to the right to have such a hearing upon the party's return from out-of-state military deployment, the court may issue a permanent order on the issues under this section.

(L. 2008 H.B. 1678, A.L. 2009 H.B. 427)



Military deployment, child custody and visitation, effect of--nondeploying parent requirements--procedure--failure to comply, effect of.

452.413. 1. As used in this section, the following terms shall mean:

(1) "Deploying parent", a parent of a child less than eighteen years of age whose parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction or a guardian of a child less than eighteen years of age who is deployed or who has received written orders to deploy with the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or any other reserve component thereof;

(2) "Deployment", military service in compliance with military orders received by a member of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or any other reserve component thereof to report for combat operations, contingency operations, peacekeeping operations, temporary duty (TDY), a remote tour of duty, or other service for which the deploying parent is required to report unaccompanied by any family member. Military service includes a period during which a military parent remains subject to deployment orders and remains deployed on account of sickness, wounds, leave, or other lawful cause;

(3) "Military parent", a parent of a child less than eighteen years of age whose parental rights have not been terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction or a guardian of a child less than eighteen years of age who is a service member of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, National Guard, or any other reserve component thereof;

(4) "Nondeploying parent", a parent or guardian not subject to deployment.

2. If a military parent is required to be separated from a child due to deployment, a court shall not enter a final order modifying the terms establishing custody or visitation contained in an existing order until ninety days after the deployment ends unless there is a written agreement by both parties.

3. In accordance with section 452.412, deployment or the potential for future deployment shall not be the sole factor supporting a change in circumstances or grounds sufficient to support a permanent modification of the custody or visitation terms established in an existing order.

4. (1) An existing order establishing the terms of custody or visitation in place at the time a military parent is deployed may be temporarily modified to make reasonable accommodation for the parties due to the deployment.

(2) A temporary modification order issued under this section shall provide that the deploying parent shall have custody of the child or reasonable visitation, whichever is applicable under the original order, during a period of leave granted to the deploying parent, unless it is not in the best interest of the child.

(3) Any court order modifying a previously ordered custody or visitation due to deployment shall specify that the deployment is the basis for the order and shall be entered by the court as a temporary order.

(4) Any such temporary custody or visitation order shall require the nondeploying parent to provide the court and the deploying parent with written notice of the nondeploying parent's address and telephone number, and update such information within seven days of any change. However, if a valid order of protection under chapter 455 from this or another jurisdiction is in effect that requires that the address or contact information of the parent who is not deployed be kept confidential, the notification shall be made to the court only, and a copy of the order shall be included in the notification. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to eliminate the requirements under section 452.377.

(5) Upon motion of a deploying parent, with reasonable advance notice and for good cause shown, the court shall hold an expedited hearing in any custody or visitation matters instituted under this section when the military duties of the deploying parent have a material effect on his or her ability or anticipated ability to appear in person at a regularly scheduled hearing.

5. (1) A temporary modification of such an order automatically ends no later than thirty days after the return of the deploying parent and the original terms of the custody or visitation order in place at the time of deployment are automatically reinstated.

(2) Nothing in this section shall limit the power of the court to conduct an expedited or emergency hearing regarding custody or visitation upon return of the deploying parent, and the court shall do so within ten days of the filing of a motion alleging an immediate danger or irreparable harm to the child.

(3) The nondeploying parent shall bear the burden of showing that reentry of the custody or visitation order in effect before the deployment is no longer in the child's best interests. The court shall set any nonemergency motion by the nondeploying parent for hearing within thirty days of the filing of the motion.

6. (1) Upon motion of the deploying parent or upon motion of a family member of the deploying parent with his or her consent, the court may delegate his or her visitation rights, or a portion of such rights, to a family member with a close and substantial relationship to the minor child or children for the duration of the deployment if it is in the best interest of the child.

(2) Such delegated visitation time or access does not create an entitlement or standing to assert separate rights to parent time or access for any person other than a parent, and shall terminate by operation of law upon the end of the deployment, as set forth in this section.

(3) Such delegated visitation time shall not exceed the visitation time granted to the deploying parent under the existing order; except that, the court may take into consideration the travel time necessary to transport the child for such delegated visitation time.

(4) In addition, there is a rebuttable presumption that a deployed parent's visitation rights shall not be delegated to a family member who has a history of perpetrating domestic violence as defined under section 455.010 against another family or household member, or delegated to a family member with an individual in the family member's household who has a history of perpetrating domestic violence against another family or household member.

(5) The person or persons to whom delegated visitation time has been granted shall have full legal standing to enforce such rights.

7. Upon motion of a deploying parent and upon reasonable advance notice and for good cause shown, the court shall permit such parent to present testimony and evidence by affidavit or electronic means in support, custody, and visitation matters instituted under this section when the military duties of such parent have a material effect on his or her ability to appear in person at a regularly scheduled hearing. Electronic means includes communication by telephone, video conference, or the internet.

8. Any order entered under this section shall require that the nondeploying parent:

(1) Make the child or children reasonably available to the deploying parent when the deploying parent has leave;

(2) Facilitate opportunities for telephonic and electronic mail contact between the deploying parent and the child or children during deployment; and

(3) Receive timely information regarding the deploying parent's leave schedule.

9. (1) If there is no existing order establishing the terms of custody and visitation and it appears that deployment is imminent, upon the filing of initial pleadings and motion by either parent, the court shall expedite a hearing to establish temporary custody or visitation to ensure the deploying parent has access to the child, to ensure disclosure of information, to grant other rights and duties set forth in this section, and to provide other appropriate relief.

(2) Any initial pleading filed to establish custody or visitation for a child of a deploying parent shall be so identified at the time of filing by stating in the text of the pleading the specific facts related to deployment.

10. (1) Since military necessity may preclude court adjudication before deployment, the parties shall cooperate with each other in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of custody, visitation, and child support.

(2) A deploying parent shall provide a copy of his or her orders to the nondeploying parent promptly and without delay prior to deployment. Notification shall be made within ten days of receipt of deployment orders. If less than ten days' notice is received by the deploying parent, notice shall be given immediately upon receipt of military orders. If all or part of the orders are classified or restricted as to release, the deploying parent shall provide, under the terms of this subdivision, all such nonclassified or nonrestricted information to the nondeploying parent.

11. In an action brought under this chapter, whenever the court declines to grant or extend a stay of proceedings under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, 50 U.S.C. Appendix Sections 521-522, and decides to proceed in the absence of the deployed parent, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the minor child's interests.

12. Service of process on a nondeploying parent whose whereabouts are unknown may be accomplished in accordance with the provisions of section 506.160.

13. In determining whether a parent has failed to exercise visitation rights, the court shall not count any time periods during which the parent did not exercise visitation due to the material effect of such parent's military duties on visitation time.

14. Once an order for custody has been entered in Missouri, any absence of a child from this state during deployment shall be denominated a temporary absence for the purposes of application of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). For the duration of the deployment, Missouri shall retain exclusive jurisdiction under the UCCJEA and deployment shall not be used as a basis to assert inconvenience of the forum under the UCCJEA.

15. In making determinations under this section, the court may award attorney's fees and costs based on the court's consideration of:

(1) The failure of either party to reasonably accommodate the other party in custody or visitation matters related to a military parent's service;

(2) Unreasonable delay caused by either party in resolving custody or visitation related to a military parent's service;

(3) Failure of either party to timely provide military orders, income, earnings, or payment information, housing or education information, or physical location of the child to the other party; and

(4) Other factors as the court may consider appropriate and as may be required by law.

(L. 2013 H.B. 148 merged with S.B. 106 merged with S.B. 110 merged with S.B. 117)

Effective 8-28-13 (H.B. 148)

8-28-13 (S.B. 106)

8-28-13 (S.B. 117)

10-11-13 (S.B. 110)

*S.B. 110 effective 10-11-13, see 21.250. S.B. 110 was vetoed July 3, 2013. The veto was overridden on September 11, 2013.



When sections 452.300 to 452.415 shall apply.

452.415. 1. Sections 452.300 to 452.415 apply to all proceedings commenced on or after January 1, 1974.

2. Sections 452.300 to 452.415 apply to all pending actions and proceedings commenced prior to January 1, 1974, with respect to issues on which a judgment has not been entered. Pending actions for divorce or separation are deemed to have been commenced on the basis of irretrievable breakdown. Evidence adduced after January 1, 1974, shall be in compliance with sections 452.300 to 452.415.

3. Sections 452.300 to 452.415 apply to all proceedings commenced after January 1, 1974, for the modification of a judgment or order entered prior to January 1, 1974.

4. In any action or proceeding in which an appeal was pending or a new trial was ordered prior to January 1, 1974, the law in effect at the time of the order sustaining the appeal or the new trial governs the appeal, the new trial, and any subsequent trial or appeal.

(L. 1973 H.B. 315 24)

Effective 1-1-74



Parent's change in income due to military service, effect on order of child support--director of division of child support enforcement, duties.

452.416. 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, whenever a parent in emergency military service has a change in income due to such military service, such change in income shall be considered a change in circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms of any order or judgment for child support or visitation unreasonable.

2. Upon receipt of a notarized letter from the commanding officer of a noncustodial parent in emergency military service which contains the date of the commencement of emergency military service and the compensation of the parent in emergency military service, the director of the division of child support enforcement shall take appropriate action to seek modification of the order or judgment of child support in accordance with the guidelines and criteria set forth in section 452.340 and applicable supreme court rules. Such notification to the director shall constitute an application for services under section 454.425.

3. Upon return from emergency military service the parent shall notify the director of the division of child support enforcement who shall take appropriate action to seek modification of the order or judgment of child support in accordance with the guidelines and criteria set forth in section 452.340 and applicable supreme court rules. Such notification to the director shall constitute an application for services under section 454.425.

4. As used in this section, the term "emergency military service" means that the parent is a member of a reserve unit or National Guard unit which is called into active military duty for a period of more than thirty days.

(L. 1991 S.B. 358, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Proceedings to be heard by circuit judge--exception.

452.420. All proceedings authorized in chapter 452 to be maintained in circuit court shall be heard by circuit judges, except that said proceedings may be heard by an associate circuit judge if he is assigned to hear such case or class of cases or if he is transferred to hear such case or class of cases pursuant to other provisions of law or section 6 of article V of the constitution.

(L. 1978 H.B. 1634)

Effective 1-2-79



Guardian ad litem appointed, when, duties--disqualification, when--fees.

452.423. 1. In all proceedings for child custody or for dissolution of marriage or legal separation where custody, visitation, or support of a child is a contested issue, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem. Disqualification of a guardian ad litem shall be ordered in any legal proceeding only pursuant to this chapter, upon the filing of a written application by any party within ten days of appointment, or within ten days of August 28, 1998, if the appointment occurs prior to August 28, 1998. Each party shall be entitled to one disqualification of a guardian ad litem appointed under this subsection in each proceeding, except a party may be entitled to additional disqualifications of a guardian ad litem for good cause shown.

2. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem in any proceeding in which child abuse or neglect is alleged.

3. The guardian ad litem shall:

(1) Be the legal representative of the child at the hearing, and may examine, cross-examine, subpoena witnesses and offer testimony;

(2) Prior to the hearing, conduct all necessary interviews with persons having contact with or knowledge of the child in order to ascertain the child's wishes, feelings, attachments and attitudes. If appropriate, the child should be interviewed;

(3) Request the juvenile officer to cause a petition to be filed in the juvenile division of the circuit court if the guardian ad litem believes the child alleged to be abused or neglected is in danger.

4. The appointing judge shall require the guardian ad litem to faithfully discharge such guardian ad litem's duties, and upon failure to do so shall discharge such guardian ad litem and appoint another. The judge in making appointments pursuant to this section shall give preference to persons who served as guardian ad litem for the child in the earlier proceeding, unless there is a reason on the record for not giving such preference.

5. The guardian ad litem shall be awarded a reasonable fee for such services to be set by the court. The court, in its discretion, may:

(1) Issue a direct payment order to the parties. If a party fails to comply with the court's direct payment order, the court may find such party to be in contempt of court; or

(2) Award such fees as a judgment to be paid by any party to the proceedings or from public funds. Such an award of guardian fees shall constitute a final judgment in favor of the guardian ad litem. Such final judgment shall be enforceable against the parties in accordance with chapter 513.

(L. 1988 H.B. 1272, et al., A.L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al., A.L. 1996 S.B. 869, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 2004 H.B. 1453 merged with S.B. 1211, A.L. 2009 H.B. 481)

(2000) Section allowing party to custody or visitation proceeding to disqualify one guardian ad litem as matter of right is constitutional. Suffian v. Usher, 19 S.W.3d 130 (Mo.banc).



Sheriff or law enforcement to enforce custody and visitation orders, when--limitations.

452.425. Any court order for the custody of, or visitation with, a child may include a provision that the sheriff or other law enforcement officer shall enforce the rights of any person to custody or visitation unless the court issues a subsequent order pursuant to chapter* 210, 211, 452 or 455 to limit or deny the custody of, or visitations with, the child. Such sheriff or law enforcement officer shall not remove a child from a person who has actual physical custody of the child unless such sheriff or officer is shown a court order or judgment which clearly and convincingly verifies that such person is not entitled to the actual physical custody of the child, and there are not other exigent circumstances that would give the sheriff or officer reasonable suspicion to believe that the child would be harmed or that the court order presented to the sheriff or officer may not be valid.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910 8)

*Word "chapters" appears in original rolls.



Risk of international abduction, court may impose restrictions and restraints.

452.426. If the judge determines that there is potential risk of international abduction of the child by either party, the judge may place any restraints on the parties or grant any remedies to either party that is necessary.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Availability of certain records--limitation on inspection of certain documents--redaction of Social Security numbers.

452.430. All pleadings and filings in a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or modification proceeding filed more than seventy-two years prior to the time a request for inspection is made may be made available to the public. Any pleadings, other than the interlocutory or final judgment or any modification thereof, in a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or modification proceeding filed prior to August 28, 2009, but less than seventy-two years prior to the time a request for inspection is made, shall be subject to inspection only by the parties, an attorney of record, the family support division within the department of social services when services are being provided under section 454.400, the attorney general or his or her designee, a person or designee of a person licensed and acting under chapter 381 who shall keep any information obtained confidential, except as necessary to the performance of functions required by chapter 381, or upon order of the court for good cause shown. Such persons may receive or make copies of documents without the clerk being required to redact the Social Security number, unless the court specifically orders the clerk to do otherwise. The clerk shall redact the Social Security number from any copy of a judgment or satisfaction of judgment before releasing the copy of the interlocutory or final judgment or satisfaction of judgment to the public.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481, A.L. 2010 H.B. 1692, et al.)



Surcharge collected, when, use.

452.552. In addition to any other court costs required to institute an action in the circuit division of the circuit court, a surcharge of three dollars shall be paid by the person filing such action. The surcharge shall be collected and disbursed in a manner provided by sections 488.012 to 488.020, by the court clerk at the time the petition is filed and shall be payable to the director of revenue for deposit in the domestic relations resolution fund established in section 452.554.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al.)



Domestic relations resolution fund established, use.

452.554. There is established in the state treasury a special fund to be known as the "Domestic Relations Resolution Fund". The director of revenue shall credit to and deposit all amounts received pursuant to section 452.552 to the fund. The general assembly shall appropriate moneys annually from the domestic relations resolution fund to the state courts administrator to pay the cost associated with the handbook created in section 452.556 and to reimburse local judicial circuits for the costs associated with the implementation of and creation of education programs for parents of children, alternative dispute resolution programs and similar programs applicable to domestic relations cases. The provisions of section 33.080 shall not apply to the domestic relations resolution fund.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al.)



Handbook, contents, availability.

452.556. 1. The state courts administrator shall create a handbook or be responsible for the approval of a handbook outlining the following:

(1) What is included in a parenting plan;

(2) The benefits of the parties agreeing to a parenting plan which outlines education, custody and cooperation between parents;

(3) The benefits of alternative dispute resolution;

(4) The pro se family access motion for enforcement of custody or temporary physical custody;

(5) The underlying assumptions for supreme court rules relating to child support; and

(6) A party's duties and responsibilities pursuant to section 452.377, including the possible consequences of not complying with section 452.377. The handbooks shall be distributed to each court and shall be available in an alternative format, including Braille, large print, or electronic or audio format upon request by a person with a disability, as defined by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

2. Each court shall mail a copy of the handbook developed pursuant to subsection 1 of this section to each party in a dissolution or legal separation action filed pursuant to section 452.310, or any proceeding in modification thereof, where minor children are involved, or may provide the petitioner with a copy of the handbook at the time the petition is filed and direct that a copy of the handbook be served along with the petition and summons upon the respondent.

3. The court shall make the handbook available to interested state agencies and members of the public.

(L. 1998 S.B. 910, A.L. 2001 S.B. 267)



Educational sessions program shall be established by courts--for proceedings involving custody or support.

452.600. The circuit courts, by local rule, shall establish a program of educational sessions for parties to actions for dissolution of marriage or in postjudgment proceedings involving custody or support, concerning the effects of dissolution of marriage on minor children of the marriage, and the benefits of alternative dispute resolution, including mediation. In lieu of establishing such a program, the circuit court may, by local rule, designate a similar program of educational sessions offered by a private or public entity.

(L. 1993 H.B. 353 1 subsec. 1, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)



Court shall order parties to action and may order children to attend, when.

452.605. In an action for dissolution of marriage or legal separation involving minor children, or in a postjudgment proceeding wherein custody of minor children is to be determined by the court, the court shall, except for good cause, unless otherwise provided by local rule, order the parties to attend educational sessions concerning the effects of custody and the dissolution of marriage on children. As used in this section "good cause" includes, but is not limited to, situations where the parties have stipulated to the custody and visitation of the child, or a finding by a court with jurisdiction after all parties have received notice and an opportunity to be heard that the safety of a party or child may be endangered by attending the educational sessions. The court may order the minor children to attend age-appropriate educational sessions.

(L. 1993 H.B. 353 1 subsec. 2, A.L. 1998 S.B. 910)

CROSS REFERENCE:

Educational sessions required in dissolution, when, 452.372



Confidentiality of facts obtained at sessions not considered in adjudication, exception.

452.607. The facts adduced at any educational session resulting from a referral pursuant to the provisions of sections 452.600 to 452.610 shall not be considered in the adjudication of a pending or subsequent judicial proceeding, nor shall any report resulting from such educational session, except a certification for completion of the session, become part of the record of any judicial proceeding unless the parties have stipulated in writing to the contrary.

(L. 1993 H.B. 353 1 subsec. 3)



Cost of educational session, amount.

452.610. The fees or costs of educational sessions under sections 452.600 to 452.610 shall be less than seventy-five dollars per person and shall be borne by the parties as deemed equitable.

(L. 1993 H.B. 353 1 subsec. 4, A.L. 1996 S.B. 869)

Effective 7-1-97



Short title.

452.700. Sections 452.700 to 452.930 may be cited as the "Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act".

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Definitions.

452.705. As used in sections 452.700 to 452.930:

(1) "Abandoned" means left without provision for reasonable and necessary care or supervision;

(2) "Child" means an individual who has not attained eighteen years of age;

(3) "Child custody determination" means a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child. The term includes a permanent, temporary, initial, or modification order. The term shall not include an order relating to child support or other monetary obligation of an individual;

(4) "Child custody proceeding" means a proceeding in which legal custody, physical custody, or visitation with respect to a child is an issue. The term includes a proceeding for divorce, separation, neglect, abuse, dependency, guardianship, paternity, termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence in which the issue may appear. The term shall not include a proceeding involving juvenile delinquency, contractual emancipation, or enforcement under sections 452.850 to 452.915;

(5) "Commencement" means the filing of the first pleading in a proceeding;

(6) "Court" means an entity authorized under the law of a state to establish, enforce, or modify a child custody determination;

(7) "Decree" or "custody decree" means a custody determination contained in a judicial decree or order made in a custody proceeding, and includes an initial decree and a modification decree;

(8) "Home state" means the state in which a child has lived with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months immediately prior to the commencement of a child custody proceeding. In the case of a child less than six months of age, the term means the state in which the child has lived from birth with any of the persons mentioned. A period of temporary absence of any of the mentioned persons is part of such period;

(9) "Initial determination" means the first child custody determination concerning a particular child;

(10) "Issuing court" means the court making a child custody determination for which enforcement is sought under sections 452.700 to 452.930;

(11) "Issuing state" means the state in which a child custody determination is made;

(12) "Litigant" means a person, including a parent, grandparent, or stepparent, who claims a right to custody or visitation with respect to a child;

(13) "Modification" means a child custody determination that changes, replaces, supersedes or is otherwise made after a previous determination concerning the same child, whether or not it is made by the court that made the previous determination;

(14) "Person" includes government, a governmental subdivision, agency or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity;

(15) "Person acting as a parent" means a person, other than a parent, who:

(a) Has physical custody of the child or has had physical custody for a period of six consecutive months, including any temporary absence, within one year immediately prior to the commencement of a child custody proceeding; and

(b) Has been awarded legal custody by a court or claims a right to legal custody under the law of this state;

(16) "Physical custody" means the physical care and supervision of a child;

(17) "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States;

(18) "Warrant" means an order issued by a court authorizing law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Proceedings governed by other law.

452.710. Sections 452.700 to 452.930 shall not govern:

(1) An adoption proceeding; or

(2) A proceeding pertaining to the authorization of emergency medical care for a child.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Application to Indian tribes.

452.715. 1. A child custody proceeding that pertains to an Indian child, as defined in the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. Section 1901, et seq., is not subject to sections 452.700 to 452.930 to the extent that it is governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act.

2. A court of this state shall treat a tribe as a state of the United States for purposes of sections 452.700 to 452.930.

3. A child custody determination made by a tribe under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of sections 452.700 to 452.930 shall be recognized and enforced under the provisions of sections 452.850 to 452.915.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



International application of act.

452.720. 1. A court of this state shall treat a foreign country as a state of the United States for purposes of applying sections 452.700 to 452.785.

2. A child custody determination made in a foreign country under factual circumstances in substantial conformity with the jurisdictional standards of sections 452.700 to 452.930 shall be recognized and enforced under sections 452.850 to 452.915.

3. The court need not apply the provisions of sections 452.700 to 452.930 when the child custody law of the other country violates fundamental principles of human rights.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Appearance and limited immunity.

452.725. 1. A party to a child custody proceeding who is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this state and is a responding party under sections 452.740 to 452.785, a party in a proceeding to modify a child custody determination under sections 452.740 to 452.785, or a petitioner in a proceeding to enforce or register a child custody determination under sections 452.850 to 452.915 may appear and participate in such proceeding without submitting to personal jurisdiction over the party for another proceeding or purpose.

2. A party is not subject to personal jurisdiction in this state solely by being physically present for the purpose of participating in a proceeding under sections 452.700 to 452.930. If a party is subject to personal jurisdiction in this state on a basis other than physical presence, the party may be served with process in this state. If a party present in this state is subject to the jurisdiction of another state, service of process permissible under the laws of the other state may be accomplished in this state.

3. The immunity granted by this section shall not extend to civil litigation based on acts unrelated to the participation in a proceeding under sections 452.700 to 452.930 committed by an individual while present in this state.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Communication between courts.

452.730. 1. A court of this state may communicate with a court in another state concerning a proceeding arising under sections 452.700 to 452.930.

2. The court may allow the parties to participate in the communication. If the parties are not able to participate in the communication, the parties shall be given the opportunity to present facts and legal arguments before a decision on jurisdiction is made.

3. A communication between courts on schedules, calendars, court records, and similar matters may occur without informing the parties. A record need not be made of such communication.

4. Except as provided in subsection 3 of this section, a record shall be made of the communication. The parties shall be informed promptly of the communication and granted access to the record.

5. For the purposes of this section, "record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium, or that which is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form. A record includes notes or transcripts of a court reporter who listened to a conference call between the courts, an electronic recording of a telephone call, a memorandum or an electronic record of the communication between the courts, or a memorandum or an electronic record made by a court after the communication.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Cooperation between courts--preservation of records.

452.735. 1. A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to:

(1) Hold an evidentiary hearing;

(2) Order a person to produce or give evidence under procedures of that state;

(3) Order that an evaluation be made with respect to the custody of a child involved in a pending proceeding;

(4) Forward to the court of this state a certified copy of the transcript of the record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise presented and any evaluation prepared in compliance with the request; and

(5) Order a party to a child custody proceeding or any person having physical custody of the child to appear in the proceeding with or without the child.

2. Upon request of a court of another state, a court of this state may hold a hearing or enter an order described in subsection 1 of this section.

3. Travel and other necessary and reasonable expenses incurred under subsection 1 or 2 of this section may be assessed against the parties according to the law of this state.

4. A court of this state shall preserve the pleadings, orders, decrees, records of hearings, evaluations, and other pertinent records with respect to a child custody proceeding until the child attains eighteen years of age. Upon appropriate request by a court or law enforcement official of another state, the court shall forward a certified copy of such records.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Initial child custody jurisdiction.

452.740. 1. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.755, a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial child custody determination only if:

(1) This state is the home state of the child on the date of the commencement of the proceeding, or was the home state of the child within six months prior to the commencement of the proceeding and the child is absent from this state but a parent or person acting as a parent continues to live in this state;

(2) A court of another state does not have jurisdiction under subdivision (1) of this subsection, or a court of the home state of the child has declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that this state is the more appropriate forum under section 452.770 or 452.775, and:

(a) The child and the child's parents, or the child and at least one parent or person acting as a parent have a significant connection with this state other than mere physical presence; and

(b) Substantial evidence is available in this state concerning the child's care, protection, training and personal relationships;

(3) All courts having jurisdiction under subdivisions (1) and (2) of this subsection have declined to exercise jurisdiction on the ground that a court of this state is the more appropriate forum to determine the custody of the child under section 452.770 or 452.775; or

(4) No state would have jurisdiction under subdivision (1), (2) or (3) of this subsection.

2. Subsection 1 of this section is the exclusive jurisdictional basis for making a child custody determination by a court of this state.

3. Physical presence of, or personal jurisdiction over, a party or a child is not necessary or sufficient to make a child custody determination.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Exclusive, continuing jurisdiction.

452.745. 1. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.755, a court of this state that has made a child custody determination consistent with section 452.740 or 452.750 has exclusive continuing jurisdiction over the determination until:

(1) A court of this state determines that neither the child, the child and one parent, nor the child and a person acting as a parent have a significant connection with this state, and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this state concerning the child's care, protection, training and personal relationships; or

(2) A court of this state or a court of another state determines that neither the child, nor a parent, nor any person acting as a parent presently resides in this state.

2. A court of this state that has exclusive continuing jurisdiction under this section may decline to exercise its jurisdiction if the court determines that it is an inconvenient forum under section 452.770.

3. A court of this state that has made a child custody determination and does not have exclusive continuing jurisdiction under this section may modify that determination only if it has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under section 452.740.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Verified petition--service of process.

452.747. 1. Any petition for modification of child custody decrees filed under the provisions of section 452.410 or sections 452.700 to 452.930 shall be verified and, if the original proceeding originated in the state of Missouri, shall be filed in that original case, but service shall be obtained and responsive pleadings may be filed as in any original proceeding.

2. Before making a decree under section 452.410 or sections 452.700 to 452.930, the litigants, any parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated, and any person who has physical custody of the child shall be served in the manner provided by the rules of civil procedure and applicable court rules and may within thirty days after the date of service (forty-five days if service by publication) file a verified answer. If any such persons are outside this state, notice and opportunity to be heard shall be given under section 452.740.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Jurisdiction to modify determination.

452.750. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.755, a court of this state shall not modify a child custody determination made by a court of another state unless a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection 1 of section 452.740 and:

(1) The court of the other state determines it no longer has exclusive continuing jurisdiction under section 452.745 or that a court of this state would be a more convenient forum under section 452.770; or

(2) A court of this state or a court of the other state determines that neither the child, nor a parent, nor any person acting as a parent presently resides in the other state.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Temporary emergency jurisdiction.

452.755. 1. A court of this state has temporary emergency jurisdiction if the child is present in this state and the child has been abandoned, or it is necessary in an emergency to protect the child because the child, or a sibling or parent of the child, is subjected to or threatened with mistreatment or abuse.

2. If there is no previous child custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under sections 452.700 to 452.930, and if no child custody proceeding has been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750, a child custody determination made under this section remains in effect until an order is obtained from a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750. If a child custody proceeding has not been or is not commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750, a child custody determination made under this section becomes a final determination if:

(1) It so provides; and

(2) This state becomes the home state of the child.

3. If there is a previous child custody determination that is entitled to be enforced under sections 452.700 to 452.930, or a child custody proceeding has been commenced in a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750, any order issued by a court of this state under this section shall specify in the order a period of time which the court considers adequate to allow the person seeking an order to obtain an order from the state having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750. The order issued in this state remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other state within the period specified or the period expires.

4. A court of this state that has been asked to make a child custody determination under this section, upon being informed that a child custody proceeding has been commenced, or a child custody determination has been made, by a court of a state having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750, shall immediately communicate with the other court. A court of this state that is exercising jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750, upon being informed that a child custody proceeding has been commenced, or a child custody determination has been made by a court of another state under a statute similar to this section shall immediately communicate with the court of that state. The purpose of such communication is to resolve the emergency, protect the safety of the parties and the child, and determine a period for the duration of the temporary order.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Notice--opportunity to be heard--joinder.

452.760. 1. Before a child custody determination is made under sections 452.700 to 452.930, notice and an opportunity to be heard in accordance with the standards of section 452.762 shall be given to:

(1) All persons entitled to notice under the provisions of the law of this state as in child custody proceedings between residents of this state;

(2) Any parent whose parental rights have not been previously terminated; and

(3) Any person having physical custody of the child.

2. Sections 452.700 to 452.930 shall not govern the enforceability of a child custody determination made without notice and an opportunity to be heard.

3. The obligation to join a party and the right to intervene as a party in a child custody proceeding under sections 452.700 to 452.930 are governed by the law of this state as in child custody proceedings between residents of this state.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Notice for exercise of jurisdiction.

452.762. 1. Notice required for the exercise of jurisdiction when a person is outside this state may be given in a manner prescribed by the law of this state for the service of process or by the law of the state in which the service is made. Notice must be given in a manner reasonably calculated to give actual notice, but may be by publication if other means are not effective.

2. Proof of service may be made in the manner prescribed by law of this state or by the law of the state in which the service is made.

3. Notice is not required for the exercise of jurisdiction with respect to a person who submits to the jurisdiction of the court.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Simultaneous proceedings.

452.765. 1. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.755, a court of this state shall not exercise its jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.785 if, at the time of the commencement of the proceeding, a proceeding concerning the custody of the child had been previously commenced in a court of another state having jurisdiction substantially in conformity with sections 452.700 to 452.930, unless the proceeding has been terminated or is stayed by the court of the other state because a court of this state is a more convenient forum under section 452.770.

2. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.755, a court of this state, prior to hearing a child custody proceeding, shall examine the court documents and other information supplied by the parties under section 452.780. If the court determines that a child custody proceeding was previously commenced in a court in another state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with sections 452.700 to 452.930, the court of this state shall stay its proceeding and communicate with the court of the other state. If the court of the state having jurisdiction substantially in accordance with sections 452.700 to 452.930 does not determine that the court of this state is a more appropriate forum, the court of this state shall dismiss the proceeding.

3. In a proceeding to modify a child custody determination, a court of this state shall determine if a proceeding to enforce the determination has been commenced in another state. If a proceeding to enforce a child custody determination has been commenced in another state, the court may:

(1) Stay the proceeding for modification pending the entry of an order of a court of the other state enforcing, staying, denying or dismissing the proceeding for enforcement;

(2) Enjoin the parties from continuing with the proceeding for enforcement; or

(3) Proceed with the modification under conditions it considers appropriate.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Inconvenient forum.

452.770. 1. A court of this state that has jurisdiction under sections 452.700 to 452.930 to make a child custody determination may decline to exercise its jurisdiction at any time if the court determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum. The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon the court's own motion, at the request of another court or upon motion of a party.

2. Before determining whether the court is an inconvenient forum, a court of this state shall consider whether it is appropriate that a court of another state exercise jurisdiction. For this purpose, the court shall allow the parties to submit information and shall consider all relevant factors, including:

(1) Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future and which state could best protect the parties and the child;

(2) The length of time the child has resided outside this state;

(3) The distance between the court in this state and the court in the state that would assume jurisdiction;

(4) The relative financial circumstances of the parties;

(5) Any agreement of the parties as to which state should assume jurisdiction;

(6) The nature and location of the evidence required to resolve the pending litigation, including the testimony of the child;

(7) The ability of the court of each state to decide the issue expeditiously and the procedures necessary to present the evidence; and

(8) The familiarity of the court of each state with the facts and issues of the pending litigation.

3. If a court of this state determines that it is an inconvenient forum and that a court of another state is a more appropriate forum, the court shall stay the proceedings on the condition that a child custody proceeding be promptly commenced in another designated state and may impose any other condition the court considers just and proper.

4. A court of this state may decline to exercise its jurisdiction under sections 452.700 to 452.930 if a child custody determination is incidental to an action for divorce or another proceeding while still retaining jurisdiction over the divorce or other proceeding.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Jurisdiction declined by reason of conduct.

452.775. 1. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.755, if a court of this state has jurisdiction under sections 452.700 to 452.930 because a person invoking the jurisdiction has engaged in unjustifiable conduct, the court shall decline to exercise its jurisdiction unless:

(1) The parents and all persons acting as parents have acquiesced in the exercise of jurisdiction;

(2) A court of the state otherwise having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750 determines that this state is a more appropriate forum under section 452.770; or

(3) No other state would have jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750.

2. If a court of this state declines to exercise its jurisdiction under subsection 1 of this section, the court may fashion an appropriate remedy to ensure the safety of the child and prevent a repetition of the wrongful conduct, including staying the proceeding until a child custody proceeding is commenced in a court having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.750.

3. If a court dismisses a petition or stays a proceeding because it declines to exercise its jurisdiction under subsection 1 of this section, the court shall charge the party invoking the jurisdiction of the court with necessary and reasonable expenses including costs, communication expenses, attorney's fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses and child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees are sought establishes that the award would be clearly inappropriate. The court may not assess fees, costs or expenses against this state except as otherwise provided by law other than sections 452.700 to 452.930.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Information to be submitted to court.

452.780. 1. Subject to local law providing for the confidentiality of procedures, addresses, and other identifying information, in a child custody proceeding each party, in its first pleading or in an attached affidavit, shall give information, if reasonably ascertainable, under oath as to the child's present address, the places where the child has lived during the last five years, and the names and present addresses of the persons with whom the child has lived during such period. The pleading or affidavit shall state whether the party:

(1) Has participated, as a party or witness or in any other capacity, in any other proceeding concerning the custody of or visitation with the child and, if so, identify the court, case number of the proceeding and date of the child custody determination, if any;

(2) Knows of any proceeding that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings for enforcement and proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights, and adoptions and, if so, identify the court and case number and nature of the proceeding; and

(3) Knows the names and addresses of any person not a party to the proceeding who has physical custody of the child or claims rights of legal custody or physical custody of, or visitation with, the child and, if so, the names and addresses of such persons.

2. If the information required by subsection 1 of this section is not furnished, the court, upon its own motion or that of a party, may stay the proceeding until the information is furnished.

3. If the declaration as to any of the items described in subdivisions (1) to (3) of subsection 1 of this section is in the affirmative, the declarant shall give additional information under oath as required by the court. The court may examine the parties under oath as to details of the information furnished and other matters pertinent to the court's jurisdiction and the disposition of the case.

4. Each party has a continuing duty to inform the court of any proceeding in this or any other state that could affect the current proceeding.

5. If a party alleges in an affidavit or a pleading under oath that the health, safety, or liberty of a party or child would be put at risk by the disclosure of identifying information, that information shall be sealed and not disclosed to the other party or the public unless the court orders the disclosure to be made after a hearing in which the court takes into consideration the health, safety, or liberty of the party or child and determines that the disclosure is in the interest of justice.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Joinder of a party.

452.782. If the court learns from information furnished by the parties under section 452.800 or from other sources that a person not a party to the custody proceeding has physical custody of the child or claims to have custody or visitation rights with respect to the child, it may order that person to be joined as a party and to be duly notified of the pendency of the proceeding and of his or her joinder as a party. If the person joined as a party is outside this state, such person shall be served with process or otherwise notified in accordance with section 452.762.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Appearance of parties and child.

452.785. 1. The court may order any party to the proceeding who is in this state to appear before the court personally. If the court finds the physical presence of the child to be in the best interest of the child, the court may order that the party who has physical custody of the child to appear physically with the child.

2. If a party to a child custody proceeding whose presence is desired by the court is outside this state, with or without the child, the court may order that a notice given under section 452.762 include a statement directing the party to appear personally with or without the child.

3. If a party to the proceeding who is outside this state is directed to appear under subsection 1 of this section or desires to appear personally before the court with or without the child, the court may require another party to pay to the clerk of the court travel and other necessary expenses of the party so appearing and of the child, if this is just and proper under the circumstances.

4. If the court finds it to be in the best interest of the child that a guardian ad litem be appointed, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child. The guardian ad litem so appointed shall be an attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Missouri. Disqualification of a guardian ad litem shall be ordered in any legal proceeding under this chapter upon the filing of a written application by any party within ten days of appointment. Each party shall be entitled to one disqualification of a guardian ad litem appointed under this subsection in each proceeding, except a party may be entitled to additional disqualifications of a guardian ad litem for good cause shown. The guardian ad litem may, for the purpose of determining custody of the child only, participate in the proceeding as if such guardian ad litem were a party. The court shall enter judgment allowing a reasonable fee to the guardian ad litem.

5. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem in any proceeding in which child abuse or neglect is alleged.

6. The court may enter any orders necessary to ensure the safety of the child and of any person ordered to appear under this section.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Effect of child custody determination.

452.790. A child custody determination made by a court of this state that had jurisdiction under sections 452.700 to 452.930 binds all persons who have been served in accordance with the laws of this state or notified in accordance with section 452.762 or who have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court, and who have been given an opportunity to be heard. The determination is conclusive as to them as to all decided issues of law and fact except to the extent the determination is modified.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Full faith and credit.

452.795. A court of this state shall accord full faith and credit to an order made consistently with sections 452.700 to 452.930 which enforces a child custody determination by a court of another state unless the order has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court authorized to do so under sections 452.740 to 452.845.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Modification of another court's determination.

452.800. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.755, a court of this state may not modify a child custody determination made by a court of another state unless a court of this state has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under subdivision (1) or (2) of subsection 1 of section 452.740 and:

(1) The court of the other state determines that it no longer has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under section 452.745 or that a court of this state would be a more convenient forum under section 452.770; or

(2) A court of this state or a court of the other state determines that neither child, nor a parent, nor any person acting as a parent presently resides in the other state.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Filing of certified copy of custody decree.

452.805. 1. A certified copy of a custody decree of another state may be filed in the office of the clerk of any circuit court of this state. The clerk shall treat the decree in the same manner as a custody decree of the circuit court of this state. A custody decree so filed has the same effect and shall be enforced in like manner as a custody decree rendered by a court of this state.

2. A person violating a custody decree of another state which makes it necessary to enforce the decree in this state may be required to pay necessary travel and other expenses, including attorneys' fees, incurred by the party entitled to the custody or the party's witnesses.

3. A court of this state shall recognize and enforce a child custody determination of a court of another state if the latter court exercised jurisdiction that was in substantial conformity with sections 452.700 to 452.930 or the determination was made under factual circumstances meeting the jurisdictional standards of sections 452.700 to 452.930 and the determination has not been modified in accordance with sections 452.700 to 452.930.

4. A court may utilize any remedy available under other law of this state to enforce a child custody determination made by a court of another state. The procedure provided by sections 452.740 to 452.845 does not affect the availability of other remedies to enforce a child custody determination.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Registration of child custody determination.

452.810. 1. A child custody determination issued by a court of another state may be registered in this state, with or without a simultaneous request for enforcement, by sending to the appropriate court in this state:

(1) A letter or other document requesting registration;

(2) Two copies, including one certified copy, of the determination sought to be registered, and a statement under penalty of perjury that to the best of the knowledge and belief of the person seeking registration the order has not been modified; and

(3) Except as otherwise provided in section 452.780, the name and address of the person seeking registration and any parent or person acting as a parent who has been awarded custody or visitation in the child custody determination sought to be registered.

2. On receipt of the documents required in subsection 1 of this section, the registering court shall:

(1) Cause the determination to be filed as a foreign judgment, together with one copy of any accompanying documents and information, regardless of their form; and

(2) Serve notice upon the persons named under subdivision (3) of subsection 1 of this section and provide them with an opportunity to contest the registration in accordance with this section.

3. The notice required by subdivision (2) of subsection 2 of this section must state:

(1) That a registered determination is enforceable as of the date of the registration in the same manner as a determination issued by a court of this state;

(2) That a hearing to contest the validity of the registered determination must be requested within twenty days after service of notice; and

(3) That failure to contest the registration will result in confirmation of the child custody determination and preclude further contest of that determination with respect to any matter that could have been asserted.

4. A person seeking to contest the validity of a registered order must request a hearing within twenty days after service of the notice. At that hearing, the court shall confirm the registered order unless the person contesting registration establishes that:

(1) The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.845;

(2) The child custody determination sought to be registered has been vacated, stayed, or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under sections 452.740 to 452.845; or

(3) The person contesting registration was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of section 452.740 in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which registration is sought.

5. If a timely request for a hearing to contest the validity of the registration is not made, the registration is confirmed as a matter of law and the person requesting registration and all persons served must be notified of the confirmation.

6. Confirmation of a registered order, whether by operation of law or after notice and hearing, precludes further contest of the order with respect to any matter which could have been asserted at the time of registration.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Forwarding copies of decrees.

452.815. The clerk of the circuit court of this state, at the request of the court of another state or at the request of any person who is affected by or has a legitimate interest in a custody decree, may, upon payment therefor, certify and forward a copy of the decree to that court or person.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Testimony of witnesses.

452.820. 1. In addition to other procedures available to a party, a party to a child custody proceeding may offer testimony of witnesses who are located in another state, including testimony of the parties and the child, by deposition or other means allowable in this state for testimony taken in another state. The court on its own motion may order that the testimony of a person be taken in another state and may prescribe the manner in which and the terms upon which the testimony is taken.

2. A court of this state may permit an individual residing in another state to be deposed or to testify by telephone, audiovisual means, or other electronic means before a designated court or at another location in that state. A court of this state shall cooperate with courts of other states in designating an appropriate location for the deposition or testimony.

3. Documentary evidence transmitted from another state to a court of this state by technological means that do not produce an original writing may not be excluded from evidence on an objection based on the means of transmission.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Request for another court to hold hearing.

452.825. 1. A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to hold a hearing to obtain evidence, to order persons within that state to produce or give evidence under other procedures of that state, or to have social studies made with respect to the custody of a child involved in proceedings pending in the court of this state; and to forward to the court of this state certified copies of the transcript of the record of the hearing, the evidence otherwise obtained, or any social studies prepared in compliance with the request. The cost of the services may be assessed against the parties.

2. A court of this state may request the appropriate court of another state to order a party to custody proceedings pending in the court of this state to appear in the proceedings and, if that party has physical custody of the child, to appear with the child. The request may state that travel and other necessary expenses of the party and of the child whose appearance is desired will be assessed against the appropriate party.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Appearance at hearing.

452.830. 1. Upon request of the court of another state, the courts of this state which are competent to hear custody matters may order a person in this state to appear at a hearing to obtain evidence or to produce or give evidence under other procedures available in this state for use in a custody proceeding in another state. A certified copy of the transcript of the record of the hearing or the evidence otherwise obtained may, in the discretion of the court and upon payment therefor, be forwarded to the requesting court.

2. A person within this state may voluntarily give his testimony or statement in this state for use in a custody proceeding outside this state.

3. Upon request of the court of another state, a competent court of this state may order a person in this state to appear alone or with the child in a custody proceeding in another state. The court may condition compliance with the request upon assurance by the other state that travel and other necessary expenses will be advanced or reimbursed.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Preservation of documents.

452.835. A court of this state shall preserve the pleadings, orders, decrees, records of hearings, evaluations, and other pertinent records with respect to a child custody proceeding until the child reaches eighteen years of age. Upon appropriate request by the court or law enforcement official of another state, the court shall forward certified copies of these records.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Transfer of transcripts and documents.

452.840. If a custody decree has been rendered in another state concerning a child involved in a custody proceeding pending in a court of this state, the court of this state, upon taking jurisdiction of the case, shall request of the court of the other state a certified copy of the transcript of any court record and other documents mentioned in section 452.835.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Priority of jurisdictional question.

452.845. If a question of existence or exercise of jurisdiction under sections 452.700 to 452.930 is raised in a child custody proceeding, the question, upon request of a party, must be given priority on the calendar and handled expeditiously.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Definitions.

452.850. As used in sections 452.850 to 452.915:

(1) "Petitioner" means a person who seeks enforcement of a child custody determination or enforcement of an order for the return of the child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction;

(2) "Respondent" means a person against whom a proceeding has been commenced for enforcement of a child custody determination or enforcement of an order for the return of the child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Temporary visitation.

452.855. 1. Sections 452.850 to 452.915 may be invoked to enforce:

(1) A child custody determination; and

(2) An order for the return of the child made under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

2. A court of this state which does not have jurisdiction to modify a child custody determination may issue a temporary order enforcing:

(1) A visitation schedule made by a court of another state; or

(2) The visitation provisions of a child custody determination of another state that does not provide for a specific visitation schedule.

3. If a court of this state makes an order under subdivision (2) of subsection 2 of this section, the court shall specify in the order a period of time which it considers adequate to allow the person seeking the order to obtain an order from the state having jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.845. The order remains in effect until an order is obtained from the other state or the period expires.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Enforcement of registered determination.

452.860. 1. A court of this state may grant any relief normally available under the provisions of the laws of this state to enforce a registered child custody determination made by a court of another state.

2. A court of this state shall recognize and enforce, but shall not modify, except in accordance with sections 452.740 to 452.845, a registered child custody determination of another state.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Simultaneous proceeding.

452.865. If a proceeding for enforcement under sections 452.850 to 452.915 has been or is commenced in this state and a court of this state determines that a proceeding to modify the determination has been commenced in another state having jurisdiction to modify the determination under sections 452.740 to 452.845, the enforcing court shall immediately communicate with the modifying court. The proceeding for enforcement continues unless the enforcing court, after consultation with the modifying court, stays or dismisses the proceeding.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Expedited enforcement of child custody determination.

452.870. 1. A petition under sections 452.850 to 452.915 shall be verified. Certified copies of all orders sought to be enforced and of the order confirming registration, if any, shall be attached to the petition. A copy of a certified copy of an order may be attached instead of the original.

2. A petition for enforcement of a child custody determination shall state:

(1) Whether the court that issued the determination identified the jurisdictional basis it relied upon in exercising jurisdiction and, if so, what the basis was;

(2) Whether the determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court whose decision shall be enforced under sections 452.700 to 452.930 or federal law and, if so, identify the court, case number of the proceeding and action taken;

(3) Whether any proceeding has been commenced that could affect the current proceeding, including proceedings relating to domestic violence, protective orders, termination of parental rights and adoptions, and, if so, identify the court, and the case number and nature of the proceeding;

(4) The present physical address of the child and respondent, if known; and

(5) Whether relief in addition to the immediate physical custody of the child and attorney's fees is sought, including a request for assistance from law enforcement officials and, if so, the relief sought.

3. If the child custody determination has been registered and confirmed under section 452.810, the petition shall also state the date and place of registration.

4. The court shall issue an order directing the respondent to appear with or without the child at a hearing and may enter any orders necessary to ensure the safety of the parties and the child.

5. The hearing shall be held on the next judicial day following service of process unless such date is impossible. In such event, the court shall hold the hearing on the first day possible. The court may extend the date of hearing at the request of the petitioner.

6. The order shall state the time and place of the hearing, and shall advise the respondent that at the hearing the court will order the delivery of the child and payment of fees, costs and expenses under section 452.890, and may set an additional hearing to determine if further relief is appropriate, unless the respondent appears and establishes that:

(1) The child custody determination is not registered and confirmed under section 452.810, and:

(a) The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.845;

(b) The child custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under sections 452.740 to 452.845 or federal law; or

(c) The respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of section 452.762 in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(2) The child custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under section 452.810, but has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under sections 452.740 to 452.845 or federal law.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Service of petition and order.

452.875. Except as otherwise provided in section 452.885, the petition and order shall be served by any method authorized by the laws of this state upon the respondent and any person who has physical custody of the child.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Hearing and order.

452.880. 1. Unless the court enters a temporary emergency order under section 452.755, upon a finding that a petitioner is entitled to the physical custody of the child immediately, the court shall order the child delivered to the petitioner unless the respondent establishes that:

(1) The child custody determination has not been registered and confirmed under section 452.810, and that:

(a) The issuing court did not have jurisdiction under sections 452.740 to 452.845;

(b) The child custody determination for which enforcement is sought has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under sections 452.740 to 452.845 or federal law; or

(c) The respondent was entitled to notice, but notice was not given in accordance with the standards of section 452.762 in the proceedings before the court that issued the order for which enforcement is sought; or

(2) The child custody determination for which enforcement is sought was registered and confirmed under section 452.810, but has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court of a state having jurisdiction to do so under sections 452.740 to 452.845 or federal law.

2. The court shall award the fees, costs and expenses authorized under section 452.890 and may grant additional relief, including a request for the assistance of law enforcement officials, and set a further hearing to determine if additional relief is appropriate.

3. If a party called to testify refuses to answer on the grounds that the testimony may be self-incriminating, the court may draw an adverse inference from such refusal.

4. A privilege against disclosure of communications between spouses and a defense of immunity based on the relationship of husband and wife, or parent and child shall not be invoked in a proceeding under sections 452.850 to 452.915.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Warrant to take physical custody of child.

452.885. 1. Upon the filing of a petition seeking enforcement of a child custody determination, the petitioner may file a verified application for the issuance of a warrant to take physical custody of the child if the child is likely to suffer serious imminent physical harm or removal from this state.

2. If the court, upon the testimony of the petitioner or other witnesses, finds that the child is likely to suffer serious imminent physical harm or be imminently removed from this state, the court may issue a warrant to take physical custody of the child. The petition shall be heard on the next judicial day after the warrant is executed. The warrant shall include the statements required under subsection 2 of section 452.870.

3. A warrant to take physical custody of a child shall:

(1) Recite the facts which a conclusion of serious imminent physical harm or removal from the jurisdiction is based;

(2) Direct law enforcement officers to take physical custody of the child immediately; and

(3) Provide for the placement of the child pending final relief.

4. The respondent shall be served with the petition, warrant and order immediately after the child is taken into physical custody.

5. A warrant to take physical custody of a child is enforceable throughout this state. If the court finds on the basis of the testimony of the petitioner or other witness that a less intrusive remedy is not effective, the court may authorize law enforcement officers to enter private property to take physical custody of the child. If required by the exigency of the case, the court may authorize law enforcement officers to make a forcible entry at any hour.

6. The court may impose conditions on the placement of a child to ensure the appearance of the child and the child's custodian.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Costs, fees, and expenses.

452.890. 1. The court shall award the prevailing party, including a state, necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by or on behalf of the party, including costs, communication expenses, attorney's fees, investigative fees, expenses for witnesses, travel expenses and child care during the course of the proceedings, unless the party from whom fees or expenses are sought establishes that the award would be clearly inappropriate.

2. The court shall not assess fees, costs or expenses against a state except as otherwise provided by law other than sections 452.700 to 452.930.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Recognition and enforcement.

452.895. A court of this state shall accord full faith and credit to an order made consistently with sections 452.700 to 452.930 which enforces a child custody determination by a court of another state unless the order has been vacated, stayed or modified by a court authorized to do so under sections 452.740 to 452.845.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Appeals.

452.900. An appeal may be taken from a final order in a proceeding under sections 452.850 to 452.915 in accordance with appellate procedures in other civil cases. Unless the court enters a temporary emergency order under section 452.755, the enforcing court shall not stay an order enforcing a child custody determination pending appeal.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Role of prosecutor or public official.

452.905. 1. In a case arising under sections 452.700 to 452.930 or involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the appropriate public official may take any lawful action, including resort to a proceeding under sections 452.850 to 452.915 or any other available civil proceeding to locate a child, obtain the return of a child or enforce a child custody determination if there is:

(1) An existing child custody determination;

(2) A request from a court in a pending child custody case;

(3) A reasonable belief that a criminal statute has been violated; or

(4) A reasonable belief that the child has been wrongfully removed or retained in violation of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

2. A prosecutor or an appropriate public official shall act on behalf of the court and shall not represent any party to a child custody determination.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Role of law enforcement.

452.910. At the request of a prosecutor or other appropriate public official acting under section 452.905, a law enforcement officer may take any lawful action reasonably necessary to locate a child or a party and assist such prosecutor or public official with responsibilities under section 452.905.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Costs and expenses.

452.915. If the respondent is not the prevailing party, the court may assess against the respondent all direct expenses and costs incurred by the prosecutor or other appropriate public official and law enforcement officers under sections 452.905 and 452.910.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Application and construction.

452.920. In applying and construing sections 452.700 to 452.930, consideration must be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact it.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Severability clause.

452.925. If any provision of sections 452.700 to 452.930 or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of sections 452.700 to 452.930 which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of sections 452.700 to 452.930 are severable.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)



Transitional provision.

452.930. A motion or other request for relief made in a child custody or enforcement proceeding which was commenced before August 28, 2009, is governed by the law in effect at the time the motion or other request was made.

(L. 2009 H.B. 481)

© Copyright


bottom Missouri General Assembly