Modification of Orders
When Is It Appropriate To Modify The Court Order?
The prior judgment or court order may be modified if you file a petition with the Court. This is true regardless of whether the issue is allocation of parental responsibilities, child support, or maintenance (alimony).
Some modifications are time sensitive. We will go through those with you. If unexpected changes arise in your case, call us immediately (309)828-5090 and our family law attorneys will promptly take the necessary steps to petition the court to modify the current judgment or order to reflect the changes without delay.
Modifying Parenting Plan
As time passes, the needs of children change, as do the circumstances of their families’ lives. Parents move, change jobs, have new partners or spouses, and obviously children get older. Children sometimes grow closer to one parent and drift apart from the other. Sometimes one or both parents have not been following the Parenting Plan. The Parenting Plan that was previously best for the children may now be unworkable and modification of the parenting plan may be necessary.
The Parenting Plan explains the amount of time each parent will have with the children and which parent (or parents) is responsible for making significant decisions for the children. Illinois law allows the Parenting Plan to be modified at any time by the court if the parties agree or there has been a change in circumstances that warrants modification to serve the child’s best interests. There are a few other specific and limited circumstances under which a Parenting Plan can be modified. You can consult with one of KGN’s experienced family law attorneys to see if your circumstances warrant a modification to the Parenting Plan.
The court must authorize any modification to the Parenting Plan for it to be enforceable, even if the parties agree on a modification. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on their own, in most cases, the court will require the parties to attend mediation to hopefully resolve the issue. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL). A guardian ad litem is a lawyer who represents the children’s best interests. The GAL is tasked with investigating the facts of the case and eventually developing a recommendation to the court as to what is in the best interests of the children with respect to parenting time and/or significant decision-making responsibilities. The GAL essentially acts as the “eyes and ears” for the court because the court is very busy and does not have time to personally investigate the facts. The opinion of the GAL can have a major impact on the outcome of your case. Although the court is not required to follow the GAL’s recommendation, the GAL’s recommendation will most likely carry substantial weight.
Modifying Child Support
Child support may be modified if you petition the Court. Child support does not change until the Court enters a new order modifying it. It is appropriate to seek modification of child support payments if there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the last child support order. If there has not been a substantial change in circumstances, modification could still be appropriate if certain factors are present. You can consult with one of KGN’s experienced family law attorneys to see if your circumstances warrant a modification. Common grounds for modifying child support are changes in (1) parenting time, (2) the child’s needs, (3) the parents’ financial status, and (4) the parents’ employment status.