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Chicago Family Attorney Experienced in Modifications of Child Custody, Parenting Time/Visitation & Child Support Orders
In life, we are always in motion. Our situations and circumstances can change in a moment, or the steady march of time can bring life changes over a more prolonged period of time. Because divorced ex-spouses and parents are not immune from the inevitability of experiencing change, it makes sense that the orders entered by an Illinois court concerning child custody, parenting time, and child support are able to change as the life situations of the parties change.
Changing an existing child custody, parenting time, or child support order is not as simple as showing that your situation and circumstances have changed, however. Arami Law is here to help Illinois parties present the evidence and legal arguments necessary to obtain modification orders in their child custody and divorce cases.
How Are Child Custody, Parenting Time & Child Support Orders Modified?
How existing orders are modified in a child custody or divorce proceeding depends on whether the order affects the custody and placement of the child or the financial support of the child. In the case of financial support, the party requesting the modification of the child support is required to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as:
- A pay raise or bonus or an involuntary pay cut;
- A second job or being involuntarily laid off from a job;
- Prolonged additional expenses such as expenses related to a terminal illness; or
- Other life events that substantially affect the income or earning power of one of the parties.
Bringing a successful motion to modify custody or parenting time orders requires that either two years have passed since the last custody order was entered or that affidavits suggest there is a serious threat to the physical, emotional, mental, or moral health of the child. Assuming that either of these conditions are met, the person seeking to change the custody order or a parenting time order must also show:
- There has been a substantial change of circumstances since the last custody or parenting time order was entered; and
- The proposed changes to the existing custody or parenting time orders are in the child’s “best interests.”
The party asking for the modification must show that these propositions are true by “clear and convincing evidence.”
Children Need Time With Both of Their Parents
The law in Illinois recognizes that in most cases children need to be able to spend considerable time with and form a fulfilling parent-child relationship with both of their parents. Therefore, except in cases where one parent has abused, neglected, or endangered the child, the parent with whom the child does not primarily reside will usually be able to exercise substantial parenting time with the child. A court will give the parent parenting time based upon:
- The age of the child;
- Any physical or special needs of the child and the parent’s ability to meet these needs;
- The work schedule of the parent;
- The school schedule of the child;
- In certain limited circumstances, the wishes of the child; and
- Any other relevant factor the court chooses to consider.
The court will make decisions about parenting time and other issues relating to the parties’ minor children by determining what is in the child’s “best interests.”
Can My Ex-spouse and I Agree on Parenting Time?
Courts like to see parents working together and putting their children first. That is why if you and your ex-spouse are able to agree on a parenting time schedule and/or decide with whom the child will primarily reside, a court is very likely to honor these decisions and enter appropriate orders memorializing your agreement. Situations where a court may not follow your agreement include:
- Where your agreement awards one parent considerably more parenting time;
- Where it appears that the agreement was reached as the result of fraud, duress, or unfair coercion; and
- Where it appears to the court that the agreement reached is not in the child’s best interests.
Why You Need the Assistance of Arami Law
In Illinois, it is difficult to change existing child custody, child support, and parenting time orders. Even if your child wishes to live with you, you still must present convincing evidence to the court to justify a change in the child’s living or visitation arrangements.
Arami Law’s team of well-seasoned Chicago family law attorneys has experience in modifying child custody and child support orders and can evaluate the likelihood of success and assist you in preparing and presenting your motions to the court. Contact Arami Law today to discuss your case with us.
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