When Can a Child Custody Order Be Modified?

Posted on in Child Custody

child custody lawyer in skokieThere are a multitude of different issues that will be addressed during a couple’s divorce, and at the end of the legal process, a divorce decree or judgment will be issued. This final order is meant to remain in place indefinitely, and it will address how certain issues will be handled going forward. For couples who have children, their divorce decree will include a child custody order, which is sometimes referred to as a parenting plan. There are some cases where these orders may no longer adequately address a family’s needs, and based on changes that have occurred, either parent may request modifications of their parenting plan. By understanding the requirements they will need to meet for modifications to be granted, parents can make sure they approach these cases correctly.

Post-Divorce Child Custody Modifications

Generally, modifications to the allocation of parental responsibilities (also known as legal custody) may not be made within the first two years after a couple’s divorce, unless there is reason to believe that issues have arisen that may affect a child’s physical or emotional health, such as abuse against a child by a parent or another person in their household. Modifications to parenting time or physical custody may be made at any time if the court determines that they are necessary. Parents may also agree to make modifications to legal or physical custody at any time, and these modifications will generally be allowed, unless the court determines that they are not in the children’s best interests.

In most cases, a parent who requests a modification will need to show that there has been a significant change in the circumstances of themselves, the other parent, or the couple’s children. Some valid reasons for modifications may include:

  • Health concerns affecting parents - Either parent may experience issues that affect their ability to properly care for their children. For example, if a parent is diagnosed with cancer, they may need to undergo chemotherapy or other forms of treatment that will prevent them from performing certain types of childcare duties on an ongoing basis. Because of this, the other parent may ask for modifications to the parenting time schedule, such as reducing the overall parenting time for the parent who is experiencing health issues while allowing them to spend shorter periods of time with their children on a frequent basis.

  • Changes to children’s needs - Children may experience illnesses or developmental issues that require extraordinary care. A parent may ask for modifications to child custody based on each parent’s ability to provide the necessary care, such as making time in their work schedules to transport children as they receive treatment from different medical providers. If necessary, changes to the allocation of parental responsibilities may be requested to allow one parent to make decisions about different forms of healthcare without the need to consult with the other parent.

  • Parental relocation - Following a divorce, parents may decide to move to a new city, county, or state to pursue employment or educational opportunities, to be closer to extended family members, or for a variety of other reasons. If a move will affect parents’ ability to spend scheduled parenting time with children or their ability to participate in child-related decisions, either parent may request modifications of child custody orders. If these modifications involve a change in children’s primary residence, a court will usually attempt to find solutions that will minimize the disruption in children’s lives and allow them to maintain close relationships with both parents.

Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Child Custody Modification Lawyers

After getting divorced, the last thing you will usually want is to return to court. However, this may be necessary if you believe that changes to your parenting plan are needed or if you need to respond to a modification request by your ex-spouse. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, we can provide you with legal representation in these cases, and we will work to make sure the decisions that are made will protect your children’s best interests. Contact our DuPage County post-divorce modification attorneys at 630-909-9114 to discuss this issue and get the legal help you need.

Sources:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K610.5.htm

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K609.2.htm

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K603.10.htm

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