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Can I modify my child custody order when life changes occur?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2022 | Child Custody |

As the years pass following your divorce your life or that of your child may change in significant ways. You may have moved, gotten a new job and your child may have grown from a toddler to a “tween” or even to a teenager. Sometimes, an order of parental responsibilities (previously known as child custody in Illinois) that worked well at the onset of your divorce is no longer is feasible, and you will want to seek a modification of that order.

Serious change in circumstances

First, you need to wait two years after the initial order is executed to pursue a modification of parental responsibilities unless there’s a serious change in circumstances. Some examples of a serious change in circumstances include:

  • The child’s health and safety are at risk should the existing order stand
  • The child has clearly been abused by the custodial parent
  • The custodial parent is residing with a convicted sex offender
  • The custodial parent is in prison

If these or other conditions exist that place the child in danger or threatens the child’s physical or mental health, you may be able to pursue a modification of parental responsibilities.

After two years have passed

After two years have passed since the parental responsibilities order was made or last modified, you can seek a modification of parental responsibilities if doing so is in the child’s best interests. Generally, this means facts have arisen that were not anticipated or that there has been a substantial change in circumstances either in the parent’s life or the life of the child. Keep in mind that a modification will only be made if it is in the best interest of the child, even if the parent’s life has changed.

Your child’s best interests are paramount

Ultimately, you will want to do what is best for your child. Your child’s best interests trump yours. If you feel your child’s health and safety is at risk or if two years have passed and there is a substantial change in circumstances, you may want to pursue a modification of parental responsibilities.