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POST-DECREE MODIFICATION

In a judgment of dissolution of marriage, some provisions are nonmodifiable and others are modifiable and fluid. Those provisions establishing the property rights of the parties are generally nonmodifiable. In contrast, provisions relating to allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, and support for children after the children attain majority, are fully modifiable based upon a substantial change in circumstances. Provisions for maintenance are also generally modifiable. 

Illinois courts recognize that issues of allocation of parental responsibility, child support, post-high school educational expenses, and maintenance have a dynamic character, consistently with the changing quality of our lives. If there is a substantial change in the circumstances from when the court originally decided the issue, or when you and your former spouse reached an agreement, the court can modify the prior ruling.

Some examples of changed circumstances that may merit a post-judgment modification include:

•    One former spouse has lost his or her job
•    One former spouse is earning significantly more than he or she was at the time of divorce
•    One former spouse is cohabitating or has remarried
•    One Parent Refuses to Follow the Custody Terms
•    One parent wishes to relocate or has relocated and the relocation significantly impacts the child’s best interest
•    The child’s needs have changed
•    A parent’s circumstances have changed
•    There is child endangerment
•    The child’s wishes/desires have changed
•    One parent has issues with drugs and/or alcohol
•    One parent engages in parental alienation
•    One parent cannot co-parent 

To the extent that there is child endangerment, the modification may need to be sought on an emergency basis.


If would like more information about seeking a post-divorce modification, we encourage you to get in touch, and take advantage of our extensive knowledge and proven track record in getting the results you expect in modification proceedings.

 

LEGAL OVERVIEW

Illinois Marriage and Dissolutions of Marriage Act requires the formation of a parenting plan that allocates parental responsibility regarding parenting time and decision making on behalf of the child. Custodial awards are determined by what is in the best interests of the child. Some of the factors that courts consider numerous factors in determining the children’s best interests, including but not limited to: 

•    The wishes of the child, if the child is old enough 
•    The wishes of each parent 
•    The relationship between the child, parents, siblings and others that impact the child’s well-being
•    The mental and well-being and health of the parents 
•    the child’s age, health, and any special needs;
•    the capability of each parent to care for the child; 
•    the history of care provided by a parent for the child; 
•    educational needs of the child and the ability of each parent to meet those needs; 
•    either parent’s interference with the relationship between the child and the other parent; 
•    the willingness and ability of each parent to place the needs of the child ahead of his or her own needs;**
•    the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;*
•    the nurturing ability of each parent; 
•    the length of time the child has resided with either parent; 
•    the child’s need for stability.
•    the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household
•    Any issues of domestic violence

The “best interest” standard has been described as the exclusive standard. The focus is on the child and not the interests of the parents, custodians, or guardians. because the standard is focused on the child, “all relevant factors” must be considered by the court. Some factors will and reasonably should be given more weight than others.  

The goal of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) is to “secure the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral and emotional well-being of the children during and after the litigation.”