Legal Information: Missouri


May 9, 2022

What happens if the other parent violates the custody order?

If the other parent violates the order, you can file a verified motion for contempt. Alternatively, if your custody or visitation rights are being denied or interfered with and there is no “good cause” for the denial or interference, you could file a family access motion. The circuit clerk will give you the form and should explain the procedures for filing a family access motion.1

Within five court days after you file a family access motion, the clerk will issue a summons for the other parent to appear in court and a copy of the motion and summons will be personally served upon the respondent. The case must be resolved within 60 days.2

After the judge holds a hearing on the motion for contempt or motion for a family access order, if the judge determines that the order for custody, visitation, or third-party custody has not been followed, without good cause, the judge can:

  1. give the parent who was denied visitation make-up time with the child that is equal to, or greater than, the amount of time that the parent was denied; and
  2. order the parent who violated the order to:
    • participate in counseling to educate him/her about the importance of providing the child with a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents;
    • pay a fine to the other parent of up to $500;
    • pay the cost of counseling to reestablish the parent-child relationship between the party who was denied visitation and the child;
    • post bond or security to ensure future compliance with the court order;3 and
    • pay any reasonable expenses that the other parent had due to the denial or interference, including attorney’s fees and costs of a proceeding to enforce visitation rights.4

1 MO ST §§ 452.375(10); 452.400(3)
2 MO ST § 452.400(4), (9)
3 MO ST § 452.400(6)
4 MO ST § 452.400(8)

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