Modifying a Divorce Decree
When your divorce has been finalized and the divorce decree has been entered by the court, it becomes a binding order, enforceable under the law. However, you should know that even if your divorce is finalized, you are allowed to file a petition to modify, or amend the decree. Before filing a petition to modify your divorce decree, make sure that you are within the bounds of when a divorce can be modified. There are certain circumstances which make a person eligible for a divorce decree modification. One cannot seek a modification just because they did not like the decisions made by the judge presiding over their divorce.
Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time
A person can file for a divorce decree modification if the circumstances of the family, including income or employment, change dramatically. Unless both parties agree to consider a change or there is a serious danger to the child, Illinois residents are not permitted to modify their parental responsibilities arrangements (not including parenting time concerns) until two years after the original decree or most recent approved modification. Illinois courts make their decisions regarding parental responsibilities based on what is in the best interest for the child. Having a two-year waiting period allows the child to settle into their new role as a child of divorce. Parenting time considerations may be modified at any time upon a showing of change in circumstances.
Change in Circumstances Can Require Modification
If you wish to modify your divorce decree through the court system, you will need to first ensure that you qualify for a modification. Circumstances which qualify for modification generally include:
- Loss of income or unemployment;
- Loss of medical benefits/health insurance;
- Moving to a new city or state (petition to relocate);
- Presence of abuse or threat of abuse (domestic violence);
- Decline in the physical or mental health of a child or parent;
- Post-secondary education expenses for children; and
- Loss of property or business interests.
After a petition to modify a divorce decree has been filed, the person seeking modification then must present sufficient evidence at a court hearing to prove that the modification is necessary.
Let Us Help
If you wish to modify your divorce decree, you need an experienced St. Charles family law attorney to guide you through the process. The divorce modification attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. can help you file a petition for modification that will fit the needs of your unique situation. To schedule a free consultation of your case, contact our office today at 630-377-7770.