How Can I Modify My Parenting Plan?
If you recently went through a divorce and have minor children from your marriage, you may also have a parenting plan in place that allocates parental responsibilities. Your parenting plan may include the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities under Illinois law, as well as the allocation of parenting time. There are a wide variety of reasons that one or both parents may want to modify an existing parenting plan. One of the parents, for example, might have started a new job that has significantly different hours and limits that parent’s ability to provide caretaking functions on certain weekends that are currently part of that parent’s parenting time. Or, for example, the child’s extracurricular or school schedule might have changed, meaning that the parents’ schedules will also need to change.
Whatever the reason is for modifying an existing parenting plan, and especially an allocation of parenting time, it is important to know what your options might be. If you have questions or need assistance, one of the experienced DuPage County child custody attorneys at Farooqi & Husain Law Office can speak with you today.
Parents Can Agree to Modify a Parenting Plan
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) clarifies that modification of an existing parenting plan is always possible by “stipulation of the parties.” In other words, if one or both of the parents want to modify the existing parenting plan and both parents agree to that modification, they can do so. In general, modifications are generally straightforward and relatively easy when both parties agree to a modification—whether for a parenting plan or another post-divorce order.
However, the options for modifying a parenting plan become more complicated when one of the parents wants to make a modification and the other does not.
Have Two Years Passed Since the Original Date of the Parenting Plan?
When one parent wants a modification and the other does not, the parent seeking the modification will need to petition the court. Generally speaking, the IMDMA makes clear that a court will not grant a modification unless at least two years have passed since the date of the initial parenting plan unless the parties agree to the modification or there is an issue of family violence or another matter that should lead to the restriction of parental responsibilities.
Assuming there is no family violence issue or a similar matter that would lead to the restriction of parenting time, if two years have passed since the original parenting plan was put into place, then the parent seeking a modification must show that there has been a change in circumstances necessitating the modification and that the modification is in the best interests of the child.
In some cases, the parent seeking the modification will not need to show changed circumstances. For example, if the parties are already using a parenting time schedule that reflects the arrangement that one of the parents is seeking, the court may make the modification. Minor modifications are also possible without showing a change in circumstances.
Contact a Family Law Attorney in Oakbrook Terrace
If you need assistance modifying a parenting plan, an experienced Oakbrook Terrace child custody attorney can assist you. Our family lawyers have been serving the Muslim community for years and can begin working on your case today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or call us at 630-909-9114 for more information.