Dupage County Lawyers

Chicago Child Custody Modification Lawyer

REAL PROBLEMS. REAL SOLUTIONS.

Family dynamics naturally change over time, as salaries increase or decrease, children grow up and graduate from high school, and ex-spouses remarry, become unemployed, or relocate for new job opportunities. As these changes happen, your child custody, child support, visitation, and spousal maintenance orders may need to be revised to reflect current circumstances.

At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., our seasoned and compassionate Illinois family law and modifications lawyers have extensive experience helping clients who need modifications. We also provide vigorous enforcement representation.

If you need to change your family court order — or if you oppose a change the other parent is seeking — we can assist you. For a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County modifications lawyer, contact us online or call us today.

How to Modify Orders

1) Visitation

The time spent with children and the power to make decisions for them is now called “allocation of parenting time” and “parental responsibilities.”  Illinois law divides parental responsibilities into two areas: (1) decision-making for the child, and (2) the parenting schedule – how much time each parent spends with the child. There must be a written parenting plan that includes the parenting schedule, and this must be approved by the court.

While you and your co-parent can modify your parenting schedule on your own, out-of-court agreements are not enforceable. The courts will legally modify your parenting schedule if circumstances have changed and fixing the schedule would serve the child’s best interests.

Parents may apply to the courts for modification of schedule for the following reasons:

1) Substantial Change in Circumstances – Showing the courts a substantial change in circumstances that necessitates modification to serve the best interests of the child.  For example, visitation schedules could be modified if one of the parents relocates more than 25 or 50 miles away, depending on the Illinois county of residence.

2) Minor Change in Circumstances – Modifications may also be approved for minor reasons that include:

  • Changed Arrangement over 6 Months. If parents have been using a different schedule from the one originally approved by the courts for more than six months, the modified schedule can be made the official schedule.
  • Minor Modifications:If minor modifications such as changing holidays are necessary, the court may allow this even when the parents don’t agree.
  • Correcting Mistakes:If a parenting schedule is approved by the court without all the facts being known, the court may correct a parenting plan based on later-learned facts.

2) Child Support

In Illinois, the original formula to determine child support was changed on July 1, 2017, when the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was amended. The old percentage guideline formula was replaced with an income-shares model.

The new model uses the net income of both parents in order to calculate the child support due from one parent to the other. Parents can use either of two tax-based formulas to determine their net income, or they can agree to use a different formula if the court agrees. The law considers additional expenses, such as medical expenses, and parenting time – the time each parent spends with the child – when determining the formula.

Once a child support order has been issued, the parent paying support continues paying that amount until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. This amount changes only if the court grants a modification.

If parents agree, they can file a motion for a modification for the court to approve. If this modification is not approved or if parents can’t agree, a judge will determine whether child support should be modified.

Paperwork must be filed with the court that explains the reason for the modification. To qualify for modification, changes must exist that are substantial and long-term, such as:

  • A child turns 19 and meets the criteria for ending child support
  • A child experiences new medical needs, wants to attend private school or wants to live with the other parent (in appropriate circumstances)
  • A parent gets a new job or is promoted and now has a substantially higher income
  • A parent is laid off indefinitely or is forced to accept a lower-paying job
  • A parent becomes available to provide daycare, reducing child care expenses
  • A change in health insurance situation.

In addition, many modification requests will not be approved unless they are in the best interest of the children involved.

3) Spousal Support

Post-divorce spousal support maintenance orders are made in order to help a lower-earning or non-earning spouse until that person becomes self-sufficient. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows spousal support to be modified or terminated by showing a “substantial change in circumstances.” The party seeking the change or termination must file a motion with the court that issued the order and show why the order should be changed.

Changes that might allow modification include:

  • A change of employment and/or income for either party
  • The payment recipient’s efforts to become self-supporting
  • Circumstances affecting capacity of either party to work, such as a medical disability
  • Tax implications of the maintenance payments
  • The duration of support payments as compared to the length of the marriage
  • The value of property awarded to or acquired by each ex-spouse

Maintenance may also terminate for reasons that include:

  • The death of either ex-spouse
  • The party receiving spousal support payments remarries or begins a conjugal, cohabitation relationship with another person

CONTACT US FOR HELP AND A FREE CONSULTATION

When modifications have to be made on any divorce agreement, the Illinois petition process and court procedures can be complex. Since changes will affect you and your children for a long period of time, it makes sense to have the help of a qualified attorney with experience in modifications to protect your interests.

The skilled Illinois modifications and family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know the laws, the courts and the system and can guide you through every aspect of any modifications you require. Our attorneys will sit down with you and discuss your situation, explain the process and requirements, and address your concerns. We will then determine the best legal arguments to make sure you receive the modifications you need.

Our fundamental success as a law firm has been in building quality relationships with our clients. We are dedicated to personal attention, responsiveness, and accessibility, and we have a long history of success.

Don’t delay. For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate DuPage County modification lawyer, contact us online or call our offices today.

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