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Modifying a Divorce Judgement

Posted on in Divorce

Naperville family law attorneyDivorce decrees are not set in stone. It would not be logical or rational for them to be that way, given that lives extend far beyond marriages in many cases. However, not every aspect of a judgment of divorce may be altered (for example, property division may only be challenged if allegations of fraud exist), and those that can be modified require proof that life has changed as well. If you have experienced a change in your life, you may be able to modify some of your divorce-related obligations.

Modifying a Support Order

A person, especially if they are a parent, may not simply ask for a change in obligations like spousal or child support. Illinois law holds that a substantial change in circumstances must be shown before a motion to modify a divorce decree will be considered. In other words, it must be shown to the court that you are no longer able to comply with the original terms of the judgment. While courts wish to enforce their orders, it is not ethical or reasonable for them to demand someone put themselves in an untenable position.

Life changes that might necessitate a change to your support obligations include:

  • Job gain or loss: Obviously, the loss of a job will affect your ability to pay support, but there are also situations in which you may want to affirmatively ask to change your support obligation if you are promoted, most of which are tax-related;
  • Prolonged illness or becoming disabled: With either of these events, one’s ability to work is often compromised which would, in turn, affect one’s income; and
  • Remarriage: There are certain situations in which a remarriage might make complying with the original maintenance or child support order difficult.

Modifying a Parenting Time Order

While modifying an order for spousal or child support can be difficult, modifying a parenting time order is arguably more complex. In extreme cases, the court or certain state agencies can step in and move to modify one’s parenting time or take it away entirely. The main thing for individuals to remember is that in Illinois, it is very difficult to modify an order of parenting time that is less than two years old. The rationale is that especially for very young children, too much change is not in their best interests, and the “best interest of the child” is the standard to which Illinois courts try to conform.

A similar framework is used in motions to modify an order for parenting time, but instead of detailing significant changes in financial circumstances, a parenting time order is most often up for modification because of either alleged inappropriate behavior from one parent, or because the child or children are experiencing negative effects that are not in their best interests. If you have proof, for example, that your former spouse has had legal trouble recently that has the potential to affect your children’s well-being, it may be grounds enough to file for a change in the divorce decree.

Seek Experienced Assistance

In a divorce proceeding, Illinois courts will always try to be as equitable as possible. However, circumstances do change, and modifications may become necessary. To help you through the confusing process, enlist the help of one of the dedicated Naperville divorce attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C. today. We are knowledgeable and helpful, and will work hard to arrive at a solution that is best for you and your family. Contact our office to discuss your case.


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