How Do You Change Your Child Custody Agreement in Illinois?

wheaton child custody lawyerFor divorcing or unmarried parents, the issue of child custody is often a top concern. Even if parents initially agreed on how to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time, things change. Sometimes, a child custody arrangement becomes impractical or inappropriate. If you are a parent who wishes to modify your current child custody order, it is important to understand how and when child custody modifications are permitted in Illinois. Illinois courts want to promote stability and consistency in children’s lives. Consequently, child custody modifications are only granted under certain circumstances.

Modifying Parenting Time or Parental Responsibilities

In Illinois, “child custody” consists of two main components: parental responsibilities and parenting time. Parental responsibilities refer to how parents make decisions about their child’s upbringing, including the child’s education and religious training. Parenting time, which used to be called visitation, is each parent’s time caring for the child. If you wish to modify the allocation of parenting time and responsibilities, you can file a Petition to Modify Parenting Time and Responsibility with the court. However, the steps you will take to receive a parental responsibilities modification depend on how recently the order was entered or last modified.

Changing Your Child Custody Order in Illinois

Parenting time may be changed at any time as long as the parents agree or there is a change in circumstances necessitating the change. For example, if your work schedule changes and you need to change your parenting time schedule to reflect this, you can do so relatively easily.

Changing parental responsibilities is somewhat more complex. If at least two years have passed since the child custody order was issued or changed, you will need to demonstrate two main elements to be granted a child custody modification:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances such as a relocation or job change that affects the child

  • The proposed modification is in the child’s best interests

If it has been less than two years since the last child custody order was entered and the other parent does not consent to the modification, modifying parental responsibilities will be more complicated. In a situation like this, you will need to show that the modification is needed to protect the child’s wellbeing. More specifically, you must show that the current child custody arrangement “seriously endangers” the child’s physical, psychological, emotional, or moral health.

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer

The only thing certain in life is change. If your situation has changed and you need to modify your child custody order, a Wheaton, Illinois child custody attorney from MKFM Law can help. Call us today at 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.


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