Most divorced couples never want to see the inside of an Illinois courtroom again. But life changes over time, and the circumstances that necessitated certain arrangements in a divorce decree may no longer apply. If you are divorced and have recently experienced a significant change in your circumstances, you may want to petition an Illinois court for a divorce decree modification. Modifications are only approved in specific circumstances; for more information about whether you may be able to request a modification, read on.
When Can a Divorce Decree Be Modified in DuPage County?
A divorce decree usually permanently settles all the issues in a divorce. Property division, child custody arrangements, and spousal support are all described in detail in a divorce decree and courts will not usually modify the terms unless certain requirements are met.
Immediately following a divorce, a decree may only be modified if a spouse believes the divorce court committed an error of fact-finding or applying the law. A spouse may not petition an appellate court for a review simply because they believe the divorce decree to be unfair. But if one spouse lied about income or failed to disclose marital assets, an appeal can be filed in the appropriate appellate court for up to 30 days following the divorce. Absent an error by the divorce court, divorce decrees may only be modified when an individual has experienced a substantial change in circumstances.
What Counts as a Substantial Change in Circumstances?
Illinois courts do not want to be continually burdened with former spouses who want to reduce their spousal maintenance or child support payments by insignificant amounts; neither do they want parents to seek revenge by constantly trying to modify parenting arrangements for specious reasons. For these reasons, a divorcee must demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances to petition for a modification. Some examples of a substantial change in circumstances include:
A parent who wishes to relocate with a child
A spouse who becomes disabled
A parent who becomes unable to care for a child
A significant decrease or increase in income
Allegations of abuse, neglect, or other parental unfitness
A child who develops special needs or extra medical or educational care
Judges want to see evidence that the substantial change is not temporary or self-inflicted. If a former spouse quit a job because he was bored or did not like his boss, and he could be working but chooses not to, a judge will likely not lower spousal maintenance or child support payments. Likewise, a parent who wishes to change weekend parenting schedules so she can have access to a more exciting social life will likely not see her modification approved. It can be difficult to know whether a judge will accept a modification petition, but an experienced attorney may be able to help.
Call a DuPage County Divorce Decree Modification Lawyer
Divorced couples may want to modify their divorce decrees for many reasons. While all of these reasons may be understandable, not all of them will give someone the right to successfully petition for a modification. For help understanding whether you may be eligible to request a modification to your divorce decree, schedule a free consultation with a Wheaton, IL divorce decree modification attorney at Andrew Cores Family Law Group. We will treat your concerns with respect and work hard to advocate on your behalf. Call us today at 630-871-1002.