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Changing Your Visitation Order

Posted on in Visitation

visitation orderThere are many reasons why a parent might wish to change the conditions of his or her visitation order. Some of the most common include a change of schedule, preventing the parent from taking advantage of the originally scheduled visitation times; a move to another location, further or closer to the place where the other parent lives; failure of a parent to follow the schedule; or a choice to not visit the child.

Under Illinois law, existing visitation orders can be changed at any time. The primary consideration for a judge, who will review your request for a modification, is whether the change is in the best interests of the child. A child’s best interests can be determined based on the desires of the child, the preferences of one or both parents, the strength of the parent-child relationship, the mental and physical health of the parents and child, and countless other factors.

Before Going to Court

In order to make changes to a visitation order, you must file a Petition to Modify Visitation with the court that originally ordered your visitation. Before you do so, you should revisit your current order and be clear on its terms. You will also need to attach copies of the original order to your petition. Often, the visitation order will be found in your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage document or your joint custody agreement.

Before filing a petition, you should try to reach an agreement with the other parent. A lawyer with experience in custody mediation can help guide you through the process of reaching an agreement that works for both parents, and most importantly, upholds the best interests of your child. Even if you agree, you will still need to file your petition in court, but the process will be much smoother.

In the meantime, it is important to not interfere with the current visitation order. Attempting to visit your child when it is not allowed in the visitation order, or preventing the other parent from visiting your child during usual visitation times, could make you liable for civil contempt of court or could lead to criminal charges.

How to Petition for a Change

Your petition should clearly state what has changed since your existing visitation order was entered, and why a change to the order would be in the best interest of your child.

When you file your petition, you will pick a court date with the help of the clerk. You are obligated to inform the other parent that you have petitioned for a change. You must mail a notice of motion and a copy of your petition to the other parent at least seven days before you are expected in court. You must also bring proof that you met this obligation to court with you.

Get Help from an Experienced Family Lawyer If your current visitation order is not working for you, and you are considering having it changed, contact Davi Law Group, LLC today for a consultation. For your peace of mind, you deserve to have a dedicated DuPage County family lawyer to advise you on your options and help you find the best course of action for you and your child.
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