Upon your divorce, you and your spouse either implemented child custody arrangements that you mutually agreed upon (and that the court accepted) or the court-ordered specific child custody arrangements that you are both required to follow. While these arrangements might have worked – or made sense – at the time, it does not mean that they continue to do so. As your lives evolve and your children grow older, there may come a time that you need a child custody modification, and an experienced Illinois child custody attorney can help you with that. 

The Basic Decision-Making Process

Before a judge can order a child custody modification, one of the following must be true:

  • Both you and your ex agree to the modification in question.
  • There has been a significant change in circumstances that affect the best interests of your children (and at least two years have passed since the date of the last child custody order).
  • The children’s present environment could seriously endanger either their physical or mental health. 

If the modification is based on a change of circumstances, it must be predicated on new facts or facts that were unknown – to the parent who is moving for the modification – at the time of the last child custody order. In other words, you can’t simply ask the court for a modification that is based on the same facts that it already ruled on. In order for the court to modify its order, there must be new facts in evidence that justify the modification.

Common Reasons for Requesting a Child Custody Modification

While there are many reasons that child custody modifications are made, some of the most common include:

  • The primary custodial parent plans on moving (for a compelling reason that is in the children’s best interests).  
  • One parent refuses to adhere to the court-ordered child custody terms.
  • The children’s needs have changed. As children grow up, they become far more independent, and many engage in sports and other extracurricular activities – in addition to having jobs of their own – that can render child custody arrangements obsolete.
  • One of the parent’s situations has changed for the better or worse (overcoming drug addiction, for example, may garner additional parenting time). 
  • Spending time with one of the parents endangers the children. 

Ultimately, the court’s decision will be based on the best interests of the children involved. If you can convince the court that your proposed modification favors your children’s best interests, it will likely take your request into careful consideration. 

Seek the Professional Legal Counsel of an Experienced Illinois Child Custody Attorney Today

If you need a child custody modification – or are fighting one – the accomplished child custody attorneys at Delaney Heckman in Joliet are well acquainted with the gravity of the situation you face and are committed to aggressively advocating for your case’s most beneficial resolution. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us today.