Like many aspects of a divorce, your parenting plan arrangement is typically finalized at the time of the divorce, but it can still be subject to modification, should the need arise. Your DuPage County family law attorney can advise you regarding whether a parenting plan modification may be appropriate.
What Types of Parenting Plan Modifications are Available?
Parenting agreements focus on two main types of parenting rights: parenting time and parenting responsibilities, and modifications can be sought for either or both kinds parenting arrangements, including changes to:
- Parenting time: one parent is seeking more time in-person with his or her children;
- Legal parenting and decision-making responsibilities: one parent is seeking increased or equal parenting rights when it comes to having the authority to make important decisions about schooling, medical care, and religion, among other things.
Why Modify an Illinois Parenting Agreement?
There are several reasons why a parent may seek to modify his or her parenting plan agreement or order once it has already been finalized. Some of the most common reasons include:
- A change in schedule - Going back to school or starting a new job, for instance, may mean the hours you have available to spend caring for your children each day have changed. Likewise, a change in your former spouse's schedule may mean that he or she has less time to spend with your children.
- Parental misconduct - Your child's other parent is engaging in conduct that you believe makes them unfit to parent without supervision. This can include drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, child abuse or neglect, mental illness, criminal involvement, abandonment, failure to meet the child's basic needs, and many other types of parental misconduct.
- Failure to comply with divorce decree or parenting agreement - If your child's other parent refuses to meet their obligations under the agreement or court order in place, you may consider asking for a parenting plan modification in addition to, or in place of, seeking enforcement of the original order.
- Relocation - When a parent relocates, he or she may wish to change the parenting plan in order to spend parenting time in larger blocks - for weeks at a time during school breaks, rather than on weekends, for instance.
- A major dispute - When an important dispute cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, a parent who lacks equal decision-making rights may seek joint - or even sole - legal parenting responsibilities.
When is a Parenting Plan Modification Not Always Appropriate?
- Seeking a child support or alimony modification - Whiile changed circumstances can lead to the need to reevaluate support determinations, the court does not base parenting rights decisions on ability to pay support, nor does it look favorably on parents seeking more parenting time solely as an effort to reduce support payments.
- Minor disputes - Your family law attorney can discuss ways to help you resolve more minor parenting disputes without going back to court or seeking a parenting plan modification.
- Remarriage – Remarriage, by itself, does not affect your legal parenting responsibilities status or your parenting time plan.
Consult an Experienced Illinois Parenting Plan Attorney
Whether you were never satisfied with your child parenting agreement in the first place, or recent changes in your life circumstances have made your current parenting plan arrangement unworkable, one of our passionate DuPage County family law attorneys can help you seek the child parenting plan modification you need. Reach out to us today for assistance.