When married parents get divorced, they create a parenting plan that outlines key issues regarding their child’s upbringing. The parenting plan explains when each parent will care for the child, how major decisions about the child’s education and upbringing will be made, and much more. Of course, life is full of unexpected changes and many parents find themselves in a position where they need to modify their parenting plan.
If you need to modify your child parenting agreement and you live in DuPage County Illinois, it is important to understand laws regarding modifications. Depending on your circumstances, what you need to change, and when the parenting arrangement was put in place, you may need to meet certain standards to modify your parenting plan. Read on to learn more.
Modifying the Parenting Time Schedule
Parenting time, previously called visitation, is the time each parent spends supervising and caring for the child. Many parents decide on a parenting time schedule that gives both parents the opportunity to spend time with the child. For example, one parent has the child during the weekdays while the other parent has the child during the weekends.
Per Illinois law, the parenting time schedule may be modified at any time if the modification is in the child’s best interest and at least one of the following is true:
- Changed circumstances necessitate a modification to serve the best interests of the child.
- The modification reflects the parenting time schedule that the parents have followed for the past six months. In other words, if your parenting time schedule has naturally shifted based on your needs, you can make your current parenting time schedule the official parenting time schedule.
- The modification is only a minor change.
- The modification is needed to change a parenting plan or allocation judgment that the court would not have issued if the court knew about all of the relevant circumstances.
Modifying Parental Responsibilities
Parental responsibilities refer to a parent’s authority to make decisions about where a child lives, goes to school, and other major life circumstances. The process of modifying parental responsibilities is a bit more involved than changing parenting time. If it has been more than two years since the parenting plan was established or last modified, you can modify the allocation of parental responsibilities by asserting that:
- There has been a substantial change in circumstances.
- The change would be in the child’s best interests.
Illinois courts want to avoid changing the allocation of parental responsibilities too frequently as this can disrupt a child’s life. Consequently, if it has been less than two years since you established or changed the allocation of parental responsibilities, you will need to prove that the current allocation is endangering the child’s physical, mental, or moral health.
Contact our DuPage County Family Law Attorneys
At MKFM Law, we understand that modifying the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time is not always as straightforward as the parents would hope. If you run into disputes or problems when trying to change your parenting agreement, our Wheaton family lawyers can provide the legal representation and assistance you need. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation to learn more.