Can I Modify My Parenting Plan Because of Life Changes?

DuPage County, IL family lawyerNavigating life after divorce can be challenging, especially when children are involved. While the terms of a parenting plan may have fit a family’s situation at the time of the divorce, life circumstances can change. Either parent may believe that adjustments to child custody or parenting time should be made based on new situations. 

For parents in DuPage County, understanding when and how a parenting plan can be modified is crucial. By consulting with an experienced attorney, a parent can navigate this process and determine the best course of action for their family.

Understanding Post-Divorce Parenting Plan Modifications in Illinois

In Illinois, parenting plans are designed to address all child parenting related issues in a divorce or family law case, establishing each parent's rights and responsibilities concerning their children. However, as life goes on, circumstances may change, and these initial agreements might need adjustments to better serve the best interests of the children.

Based on these changes, parents may believe that it is necessary to adjust decision-making responsibilities so that they can address child-related concerns more effectively, or changes to parenting time schedules may be appropriate to ensure that parents can provide the proper care at all times.

Legal Requirements for Modifying Parenting Plans

To modify a parenting plan in Illinois, the parent requesting the change must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the original plan was made. Additionally, it must be shown that the proposed modification is necessary to serve the child's best interests. Here are key points to consider:

  • Substantial change in circumstances: This is the primary factor addressed in a modification request. Changes must be significant enough to warrant a revision of child custody or parenting time arrangements.
  • Best interests of the child: Any modification must reflect the child’s best interests, including the child's needs; their adjustment to their home, school, and community; and the mental and physical health of everyone involved.

Examples of Changes That May Justify a Modification

Several situations might constitute a substantial change in circumstances, including:

  • Relocation: One parent may plan to move to a different geographical area, and this may require changes to the parenting time schedule.
  • Change in employment: Changes in work hours or demands may affect a parent’s availability during their scheduled parenting time.
  • Health issues: Significant physical or mental health concerns may affect a parent's ability to care for their child.
  • Developmental needs of the child: As children grow, their needs may change, and new arrangements may need to be put in place to ensure that parents can provide for their best interests.
  • Safety concerns: If there are any issues that may affect a child’s health, safety, or overall well-being while they are in one parent’s care, modifications might be needed.

The Process of Modifying a Parenting Plan

If you believe that your parenting plan should be modified, an attorney who focuses on family law can advise you of the steps you will need to follow and the requirements you will need to meet. The process of requesting a modification will involve the following steps:

  1. Petition for modification: Your lawyer can file a petition with the court outlining the substantial changes in circumstances that have occurred and detailing how your proposed changes to the parenting plan will align with your child's best interests.
  2. Court review: The other parent may respond to your petition, and a hearing will be held in which a judge will consider arguments and evidence presented by both sides and determine whether the requested modifications are in the child’s best interest.
  3. Approval of modification: If the court finds that a modification will serve the child's best interests, it may approve the request. A judge may make whatever adjustments are believed to be necessary based on the changes in circumstances.

Contact Our DuPage County, IL Parenting Plan Modification Attorneys

Modifying a parenting plan can be complex, involving detailed legal procedures and strict requirements. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC., our Wheaton, IL child custody lawyers can provide valuable guidance and advocacy in these situations. We can help you ensure that your modification request will be handled correctly, and we will work to protect your rights and your child’s best interests throughout the process. Contact us today at 630-665-7300 to set up an initial attorney meeting and learn more about how we can assist you.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree