DuPage County family law attorneyIllinois family courts tend to follow guidelines and case precedent when issuing divorce decrees, especially absent any input from the spouses themselves regarding the disposition of issues like parenting time. However, sometimes a parenting plan will need to be modified, and it is important to realize that there are certain requirements that must be followed before a change will be permitted.

Family Court Has Authority

The most important thing to realize going in is that only family courts may make definitive adjustments to divorce decrees. You are welcome to work out an agreement with your ex-spouse regarding parenting time or support, but these agreements do not have the force of law. A court will not abide by them unless you have these unofficial agreements added to your decree. It matters especially if you and your spouse have a tumultuous relationship and one of you is likely to fail to live up to your agreement.

In Illinois, however, the law holds that unless the parties agree or there is found to be an immediate reason in the best interests of the child, any modification of terms may not be made before two years have passed. The rationale behind this is that unless it is a demonstrable emergency, it can be harmful to a child’s emotional and mental well-being to undergo too many changes to their living situation. In addition, the arrangement arrived at initially must be given time to work before it can be amended.

Modifications If You Cannot Agree

If you and your spouse are able to agree on a parenting time modification, the court will likely certify your arrangement absent any glaring potential problems. If only one of you wants a modification, or if you cannot agree on the nature of the modification, the court will have to intervene, and they will do so with an eye to one thing above all else, at least when it comes to parenting time: the best interests of the child or children involved. Illinois state public policy aims to ensure that children are kept as safe and healthy as possible, even if it may cause minor harm or inconveniences to the parents.

The court will generally focus on a list of factors designed to evaluate exactly what is in the child’s best interests. The factors are listed in the law and including the child’s own wishes, the degree to which the child is adjusting in the community, whether or not the parents can work together to make decisions, any history of violence or child abuse, and the mental, physical, and emotional health of all involved. These factors are not the only ones considered; the law specifies that the court may consider “any other factor [it] deems to be relevant.”

Ask a Knowledgeable Lawyer

Parenting time is one of the most hotly debated issues in divorces, and it is not uncommon for modifications to be necessary as children continue to grow and change. However, a modification must be made according to correct procedure. If you need help figuring out how to handle asking for a modification, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney to get the guidance you need. Call 630-352-2240 for a confidential consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C. today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000