There are many reasons that spouses seek to modify their divorce decrees once a divorce case has been finalized. For example, one of the parties paying or receiving spousal support or child support might have had a change in job situation, or circumstances surrounding parental responsibilities may have shifted. While it can be frustrating to think about going back before the court to modify an existing order, most divorce decree modifications must be done officially through the court system. The following are some key factors to keep in mind when you are seeking to modify an existing divorce order.
Sometimes issues that arise may not need court involvement. If there are minor issues surrounding parenting time, or minor matters concerning spousal maintenance or child support that do not interfere with the existing divorce decree, it may not be necessary to seek a modification. With your lawyer’s help, you may be able to resolve the issue with your ex without going back to court.
For most types of divorce decree modifications, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) requires the petitioning party to show that a “substantial change in circumstances” has occurred. While the IMDMA does not expressly define the scenarios that constitute a substantial change in circumstances, you will need to be able to show that you are not asking to modify the order on a whim and that a shift in your situation has necessitated a modification of the court order.
Common examples of situations that might constitute a substantial change in circumstances, thereby allowing the court to modify an existing divorce decree, include but are not limited to the following:
These are just some examples of situations that may be considered a substantial change in circumstances. If you have questions about other situations or circumstances, you should seek advice from an Illinois family lawyer who can help you to determine your likelihood of being able to modify the existing order.
If your goal in seeking to modify an existing order is to keep the other parent out of your child’s life, you should know that this will rarely be successful.
The IMDMA underscores that, unless the court finds “evidence that a parent’s exercise of parenting time [or significant decision-making responsibilities, in some cases] would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health,” it will not restrict parental responsibilities.
Do you have questions about seeking a modification after your divorce? One of our experienced Cook County modification attorneys can assist you today. Contact Arami Law, Inc. to get started on your case.
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