Helping Clients Modify Their Divorce Decrees
At Taege Law Offices in Chicago, our attorneys acknowledge that change is the only constant in life. We know that you and your ex will both go through life changes after your divorce, and your children will, too. Facing these new and unexpected challenges can be tricky if your existing divorce decree doesn’t allow for flexibility, and you may need to revisit your child custody, child support and spousal support orders as a result. With our experience, we can help you make the changes you need that allow everyone to flourish.
Child Custody And Parenting Time Modifications
As a divorced parent, your children’s well-being is likely your top priority. Their needs, though, will change over time, and the custody arrangement you and your ex agreed upon when you parted ways may no longer work.
In Illinois, parenting time – the state’s term for physical custody – and parental responsibilities – the state’s term for legal custody – can both be modified. Any modifications made to either type of custody, however, cannot happen until several years after a divorce, unless the parents agree upon them.
Spousal Support Modifications
Spousal support, known as spousal maintenance in Illinois, is a factor in some, though not all, Illinois divorces. Whether it will play a part in yours depends on, among other things:
- How long your marriage lasted
- You and your spouse’s current and future earning capacities (and whether these are limited in any way)
- You and your spouse’s respective incomes and assets
- Your marital standard of living
When significant life changes happen to either the payor or recipient of spousal support, a modification can be requested.
Child Support Modifications
Modifying child support is not a matter to take lightly. No matter your income, you will want to do your best to ensure your child has the financial support they need to thrive. That said, Illinois permits modifications to child support orders when payors can no longer meet their obligation or recipients need additional financial assistance.
FAQs About Post-Divorce Modifications
Under what circumstances can child custody orders be modified in Illinois?
In Illinois, child custody orders can be modified when:
- A child develops health challenges that one parent is better suited to handle
- A child or parent’s schedule changes substantially
- Child support payments shift from one parent to the other
- Parental relocation occurs
- Parental remarriage occurs
Keep in mind that Illinois prohibits child custody modifications for two years after a divorce. The exception to this rule is when a child’s health and safety are endangered by the existing custody arrangement. Parents who can agree to custody modifications are not bound by this rule and can request modifications at any juncture.
What qualifies as a “significant life change” that could lead to the modification of spousal support or child support?
A significant life change, also called a substantial change in circumstances, refers to any life event that affects a payor’s ability to meet their support obligations. Examples of significant life changes include:
- Leaving a job to pursue further education
- Loss of employment
- Substantial decrease in income
- Substantial increase in income
In child support cases, custody modifications, such as an increase in overnights for the payor, may also qualify as a significant life change, as do changes in children’s needs (specifically if they are diagnosed with a disability or illness).
Can a noncustodial parent request a modification in custody due to changes in the custodial parent’s lifestyle or behavior?
Even if you are not your children’s primary caregiver, you can seek a modification to your child custody order if their custodial parent’s lifestyle or behavior is causing them harm. Whether your request is granted, however, is at the court’s discretion.
How long does spousal support last in Illinois?
Illinois does not have a single set duration for spousal support. However, state law dictates that – when spousal support is called for – the longer your marriage lasts, the longer the support period lasts.
What can end spousal support in Illinois?
Spousal support is rarely indefinite, and sometimes the support period may end before it is supposed to. This could happen if:
- Either the payor or the recipient experiences substantial changes to their financial circumstances
- Either the payor or the recipient dies
- The recipient begins cohabitating with a new romantic partner
- The recipient remarries
Contact Us With Your Post-Divorce Modification Concerns
Talking with a lawyer is an important step in modifying your divorce decree. At [NAP firm], our team can help you understand your options for pursuing the changes your circumstances demand. We offer free, confidential consultations for family law clients. You can book yours by completing our contact form or by calling 312-667-7706.