Modifications

Modifications

Illinois Family Law Attorney Assisting with Modifications

When you get divorced, the court will divide marital property and, based on your particular circumstances, may award spousal maintenance, allocate parental responsibilities, order child support, or make any other distributions and orders it deems appropriate under the circumstances. At the time, a spousal support or child support order might be appropriate given the financial situation of both parties; or an allocation judgment could be in the best interest of the child while also considering the needs of the parents. However, situations change. People can lose their jobs or move out of state, and a need can arise to modify a court order.

Generally speaking, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (I.M.D.M.A) has provisions for handling modifications of support orders, property disposition, and the allocation of parental responsibilities. An Illinois family law attorney can help with your situation.

Modifying Orders for Child Support

When it comes to orders for child support, a modification can be made in three different circumstances:

  • Proof of a substantial change in circumstances; or
  • Proof that there is a clear inconsistency in the child support order; or
  • Proof that the healthcare needs of the child require a modification.

When there is a substantial change in circumstances or the child’s healthcare needs have changed, a parent can seek a modification immediately—there is no specific period of time that must pass from the entry of the initial order, to seek a modification. However, when it comes to an inconsistency, the moving party must show that they are receiving child support through enforcement services and the previous child support order must have been entered (or modified) at least 36 months before that date.  Alternatively, the courts will also typically consider a modification if it varies by at least 10% of the existing order.

Modifying Alimony or Spousal Maintenance Orders

In order to modify a spousal maintenance order, the party seeking the modification must be able to show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances. A substantial change in circumstances can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Employment status change for either of the parties that has been made in good faith;
  • Efforts by the receiving party to become self-supporting;
  • Impairment of the earning capacity of either party;
  • Tax consequences of maintenance payments;
  • Duration of previous maintenance payments made with regard to the duration of the marriage;
  • Property awarded to each of the parties during the divorce; 
  • Increase or decrease in either party’s income; and
  • Trigger factor including remarriage of the recipient, and or cohabitation on a regular and conjugal basis, as defined in the statute.

How to Modify an Allocation Judgment

Modifying an allocation judgment—through which the court allocates parental responsibilities—is a bit more complicated. The part of the judgment that allocates important decision-making responsibilities can only be modified if two years have passed since the entry of the initial judgment, unless one of the following is true:

  • Both parents agree to the modification; or
  • One of the parents seriously endangered the health or well-being of the child.

Parenting time, however, can be modified at any time if there has been a change in circumstances. The party seeking a modification only needs to show that the change in circumstances requires a modification for the child’s best interests. 

After two years have elapsed, the moving party need just present evidence which supports a modification, based on the best interests of the minor child. The court will then consider all factors in determining whether a modification is warranted under the circumstances.

Seek Advice from an Illinois Modification Lawyer

Modifying family law court orders can be a complicated process, but an Illinois modification lawyer can assist you. Contact the law office of Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. today.

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