Modifying Child Custody Agreements

Changing Child Custody in Illinois

Changes in your personal or professional life following your divorce may lead you to seek a change to your Parenting Plan.  If you are requesting or opposing a change to your Parenting Plan, Goodman Law Firm can help.  Change is an inevitable fact of life.  Whether your circumstances have changed for the better or your child’s other parent’s circumstances have deteriorated, we can help you assert your parental rights in court.

Child Custody Laws Have Changed in Illinois

Historically, Illinois family law courts awarded legal custody and residential custody.  Legal custody referred to decision-making authority for the children.  When decision-making authority was awarded to one parent only, that parent had sole custody.  When decision making was shared, the parents had joint custody.  The child resided with the parent who was awarded residential custody and, typically, enjoyed visitation with the other parent.

Illinois Courts Allocate Parental Responsibilities

For the most part, Illinois courts no longer use the terms custody and visitation.  Instead, Illinois family law courts must allocate parental responsibilities.  Allocating parental responsibilities entails determining: 1) who will have authority to make significant decisions for the minor children; and 2) when will each parent spend time with the children (parenting time).  Today, residential custody is awarded for school enrollment purposes only; however, it is still common for a child to spend the majority of time with one parent.

Changing a Court’s Parenting Order

Changing a court’s parenting order is called a modification.  Modifying a court’s parenting order is not easy because Illinois parenting laws were drafted to embody the policy that a child’s best interests are served when their living environment is stable and predictable.  The process for modifying a parenting order depends on how much time has passed since the court last entered an order affecting parental responsibilities.

Generally, no motion to modify may be filed within two years of an order allocating parental responsibilities unless the parties agree or there is a reason to believe the child’s present environment would seriously endanger the child’s mental, moral, or physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.

If more than two years have passed since a court last entered an order regarding parental responsibilities, the requesting party must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that: a) there was a substantial change in circumstances since the entry of the court’s previous custody order; and b) that a change in custody is in the child’s best interests.

DuPage County Custody Lawyer

If you are looking for an experienced litigator in Oak Brook, Naperville, Wheaton, or Chicago, contact us today at (630) 464-6700 and request a custody modification consultation.