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Post-Judgment Custody Modifications

Posted on in Child Custody


Post-Judgment Custody ModificationsAfter your divorce agreement is finalized you may decide that you want to modify some of the terms, including the terms related to parenting responsibility and time. In order to modify the parenting parts of your agreement, you must meet certain conditions. It is important to understand when you can modify parenting time and responsibility in a divorce agreement in Illinois and what you need to prove for a judge to be willing to consider your proposed modifications.

When Can You Modify an Agreement?

In Illinois, modification of divorce agreements is governed under 750 ILCS 5/610.5. Generally, parents can modify the terms of parenting agreements if they both consent to the modifications. Outside of both parties consenting, there are other ways to modify the parenting provisions of a divorce agreement. In terms of language, at the beginning of the year Illinois family law moved away from the terms “custody” and “visitation,” and now looks at custody in terms of parenting time and parenting rights. It is important to understand these changes because any modifications moving forward will need to use these terms and concepts.

Two-Year Rule

Illinois law does not generally allow any post-judgment modifications to the parenting provisions of a divorce agreement within the first two years after the agreement is finalized. There are a few exceptions to this; one exception is if the terms of the agreement itself allow for modification with this time period. Another exception is when the parents file cross-petitions to modify the agreement indicating that both parents want to modify the agreement. One of the most important exceptions to waiting the two years for a modification is when there is a risk or other danger to the child, such as when one of the parents is living with a sex offender, or if the environment “seriously endangers” the child’s health and wellbeing, or “significantly impairs” the child’s development. As with almost all family law decisions, the court’s focus is on the best interest of the child and while the two-year rule is meant to provide stability for the child, the child’s safety and health are always the most important consideration.

After the Two Years

After two years, modifications can be requested if there is a substantial change in circumstances. As always, the ultimate decision will rest with the judge using the best interest of the child standard. If there has not been a substantial change, there are still some circumstances that will allow a judge to hear a request for modification:

  • If the modification is minor;
  • If the modification is to comply with what the parents have been actually doing in practice; or
  • If the court would have included the modification in the original plan if it would have known about the circumstances.

DuPage County Post-Judgment Modification Attorneys

If you want to modify some of the parenting and custody terms of your divorce agreement, you should have skilled attorneys working with you to present your case in the strongest manner possible. Our skilled DuPage County post-judgment modification attorneys at Davi Law Group, LLC can help you to get the changes that you are looking for.

Sources:

http://www.law.siu.edu/selfhelp/info/childsupport/change%20in%20custody.pdf
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K610.5.htm

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