Pesce Law Group, P.C.

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DuPage County Post Decree Modification Attorneys

Family Law Modification Lawyers in Naperville, IL

To modify a divorce or other family law order in Illinois, the movant - person who files the action - must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. The law does not define this term, other than to say that the change cannot have been reasonably anticipated at the time the prior order was made and that the change in circumstances must be of a permanent nature. Since these actions are decided almost entirely on a case-by-case basis, a judge's discretion and willingness to alter the terms of a prior order is almost directly proportional with your attorney's ability to advocate for you.

The professionals at Pesce Law Group, P.C. have a very well-deserved reputation for zealous client representation and thorough preparation, which may serve you well in the entire modification process. We are committed to cost-effective solutions that uphold the best interest of the child(ren) and an equitable property division.

Procedural Steps

The Constitution's full faith and credit clause, located in Article IV, Section 1, dictates that, in most circumstances, each state must honor the "judicial proceedings" in any other state. So, if the prior order comes from out of state, it must be converted to an order that Illinois courts will formally recognize. This step is typically purely procedural.

Moreover, according to the rules of evidence, any act or event that took place prior to the existing order is inadmissible in a modification proceeding. In other words, modification does not mean re-litigation, and a modification action is not an appeal. The basis for the prior action is irrelevant. All that matters is the text in the order itself.

Substantive Matters

The judge may consider a wide range of factors when considering the modification. Some of the more common ones include:

  • Employment: A job change is one of the most frequently-cited reasons for child custody or child support modifications. The change must have been made in good faith; most courts also give greater weight to an involuntary development, such as a layoff or transfer.
  • Economic Equity: Does a party have more assets or fewer assets now than at the time of the original order, and is either party impaired in any way? For example, one party may have been diagnosed with a serious illness.
  • Child(ren)'s Preference: The child(ren)'s schedule may have changed since the prior order, rendering it unworkable or unwieldy.

Other possible factors include compliance, or lack thereof, with prior orders. For example, a non-custodial parent may have failed to attend required parenting classes.

As a rule of thumb, a family law order may need to be modified at least once every few years. Contact Pesce Law Group, P.C. at 630-352-2240 for a free consultation about modifying an existing divorce or family law order.

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