While there are specified time limits on how often you can modify your allocation of parental responsibilities under Illinois law, there are several exceptions to these limits. Since circumstances concerning children change over time, the allocation of parental responsibilities also is likely to change over time. In some cases, however, parents cannot agree on how or whether to change the existing allocation of parental responsibilities, which requires the court to make a decision on the issue for the parties, often with the help of a guardian ad litem or another professional who can make recommendations to the court.
The Two-Year Limit
Once a parenting plan takes effect, whether agreed to by the parents or ordered by a court, there is typically a two-year period during which you cannot modify the allocation of parental responsibilities. The purpose of this law is to create stability for the child and avoid a constantly-shifting allocation of parental responsibilities. However, there are emergency situations in which circumstances necessitate an earlier modification of the allocation of parental responsibilities, and other situations in which parents agree to change the existing order.
Modifying a Parenting Plan at Any Time
In some cases, parents agree to modify the existing allocation of parental responsibilities, even if it has not yet been in effect for two years. So long as the proposed changes are in the child’s best interests, the court will approve the changes to the allocation of parental responsibilities. Even if the parents don’t agree as to how to change the allocation of parental responsibilities, they can sign and file a joint agreement with the court waiving the two-year modification requirement. Additionally, if each parent files his or her own petition to modify the allocation of parental responsibilities, then the court need not wait two years before modifying it.
Showing a Substantial Change
The general rule is that a parent must show a significant change in circumstances in order to modify the allocation of parental responsibilities, as set forth in the parenting plan, and that the modification is in the best interest of the child. However, parents do not have to show a significant change in circumstances if the modification simply puts into writing how the parents have actually been allocating parental responsibilities for the last six month, and the modification is in the child’s best interest. It is also unnecessary to prove a significant change in circumstances if the modification is minor or if the court wouldn’t have approved the parenting plan in the first place had it known certain information at that time.
Call Your Wheaton Parenting Plan Attorney
At Abear Law Offices, our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys know how emotionally draining, stressful, and emotional it can be when you are involved in the modification of a parenting plan. We here to help you and represent your interests throughout the entire process, no matter what types of issues arise. Our goal is to make the litigation process as easy as possible for you. Call 630-904-3033 for a confidential consultation today.