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How Do You Change a Child Custody Order in Illinois?

Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois child custody modification lawyerChild custody is one of the most difficult issues to deal with, even after a court has entered a formal custody order. In Illinois, it is always possible to ask the court to change a custody order, but getting a judge to agree to make a change is difficult. A change to a court order is called a modification. The steps required to successfully get a modification of a child custody order depend on how long the present order has been in place.

Requirements for Requesting a Modification

Under normal circumstances, when you ask for a modification, you must establish that at least two years have passed since the last custody order was signed and that there has been a change of circumstances. The change of circumstances means a change in the circumstances in the life of the child, the parent with the residential custody (sometimes called the primary residential parent) or the parent without residential custody (or the non-residential parent).

If both parents agree on the changes, the judge will most likely grant them. But the ultimate standard is the best interest of the child. This is true if you are seeking to modify custody or just modify the parenting time.

If only one parent wishes to modify the custody order, he or she must prove to the court by clear and convincing evidence that a change has occurred since the original order and that a change in custody or parenting time is in the best interest of the child.

What about When the Custody Order Is Less than Two Years Old?

Illinois wants to promote stability in the lives of children. This means it is more difficult to get a modification of a custody order that is less than two years old.

In this circumstance, you will have to prove to the court that the current environment the child lives in may seriously endanger the child's physical, mental, emotional, or moral health. Often, only an emergency situation will qualify for a modification during the first two years of a custody order.

The Process for Applying for a Modification

When seeking a modification, a motion to modify custody must be filed. The motion must be filed in the county where the original custody order was signed. If the child no longer lives in that county, it may be possible to have the case transferred. However, the case will most likely have to begin in the original county.

A joint motion to modify custody time may be filed if both parents agree to the changes to parenting time or custody.

When you file a motion you have to submit an affidavit that establishes under penalty of perjury that your case meets the requirements for a modification. Often a judge will want to order a formal custody evaluation. There will also be status hearings and attempts to settle the issue short of a full trial.

If the issues cannot be settled, a full trial on the modification will be held.

Modifying a child custody order or modifying parenting time is a complicated process. You need expert advice when dealing with important matters regarding the custody of your child. Meet with a dedicated Wheaton family law lawyer to understand your rights. Call the Stogsdill Law Firm today at 630-462-9500.



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