Can I Change My Illinois Parenting Plan?

kane county child custody lawyerIllinois has reworked the way that the state deals with child related matters related to divorce. The terms child custody and visitation have been replaced by “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” However, many people continue to use the term “child custody” informally. Divorced or unmarried parents create a “parenting plan” that describes the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities as well as other child-related concerns and submit it to the court for approval. However, circumstances change, and sometimes parents need to modify their parenting plan.

Changing a Child Custody Order Before Two Years Have Passed  

In any child-related legal matter, the court’s priority is always the child’s wellbeing. Illinois courts make all child custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. Because change is often hard on children, courts typically avoid changing parental responsibilities within two years of establishing or modifying the custody arrangement.

If it has been less than two years since you created your parenting plan or modified the plan, the court will grant you a modification if you can show that the modification is necessary to protect the child’s safety. The court will only allow you to change the allocation of parental responsibilities if the child’s current living environment endangers his or her physical safety, emotional or mental health, or moral wellbeing.

Child Custody Modification After Two Years

If it has been more than two years since you established the allocation of parental responsibilities, it is easier to change the child custody order. You may change the allocation of parental responsibilities if you can show that:

  • There has been a change of circumstances requiring the modification
  • The change is in the child’s best interests

Modifying Parenting Time or Visitation

Parenting time refers to the time that a parent is directly responsible for the child. It is easier to change parenting time than it is to modify parental responsibilities. To modify your parenting time schedule, you must show that the new parenting time arrangement is in the child’s best interests and that one of the following is true:

  • The new arrangement is simply formalizing the parenting time schedule that the parents have already been following
  • The modification is relatively minor
  • The parents agree to the change
  • The court would not have allowed the original parenting time schedule had the court known all the relevant facts of the case

Contact a St. Charles Child Custody Lawyer

If you need to change the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time, a Kane County family law attorney from MKFM Law can help. Call us at 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.


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