If Both Parents Agree To Changes To A Custody Or Child Support Order In Illinois, Do Each Of Them Still Need To Have Attorneys To Handle The Modification?
Parent litigants are never required to have an attorney. In cases where both parents go to court because they are in opposition of each other, one attorney cannot represent them both. For instance, I cannot represent two people who have an adverse position. It’s a conflict. However, if one of the parties hires an attorney to draft an agreed order, both parties read it, and there’s an agreement, the attorney who drafted the order can email it to the judge and get it approved. If a parent doesn’t have the judge’s email, I am not sure that they could accomplish this. It would take a whole lot of time and effort to get that agreed order to the judge. Attorneys are never required in Illinois; you can always represent yourself in this type of case. However, there’s a major advantage to having an attorney submit an agreed order to the court on your behalf.
How Do We Start The Modification Process? What Do We Need To Begin? Do We Need The Same Attorney That We Used For Our Divorce?
In order to modify an allocation judgment or current marital settlement agreement, the first step is to write a motion to modify the support, visitation, or parental decision-making. The motion has to include all of the factors that are considered by the court that helps them decide whether to grant the modification. You usually have to allege a substantial change in circumstances. You have to give the factual basis that details those circumstances, such as what they started out as and how they’ve changed. In regard to a child support matter, you have to detail the financial facts that form the basis of the substantial change. In a motion to modify custody, visitation, or parental decision-making, you have to give the facts that form the basis of why it’s in the child’s best interest to make the change. You could obtain an attorney to write it all on your behalf or you can do it on your own. However, if you represent yourself, the court holds you to the same standard as an attorney.
You have to make sure to lay out everything that the court requires, which includes the allegations of substantial change in circumstances or serious endangerment. Then, you end the motion with the wherefore paragraph that requests relief: “Wherefore, based on the above facts, please reduce child support to X.” Or, “Based on the above facts, please modify custody so that decision-making as to medical matters is only with mom.” The wherefore paragraph is where you ask for relief and tell the court what you want.
Once the motion has been filed with the court, you have to ask for a presentation date, which currently takes place on Zoom. The presentation normally takes place before the court. Somebody has to appear and present it. As you present that motion to the court, you let the court know that the other side has received it. The other party is usually in court on the date of the presentation. On that date, the court orders the parties to provide information to the other party that will allow them to investigate the allegations and motion. If it’s a child support motion, the court orders both parties to disclose their financial information through affidavits, paystubs, and tax returns for the last 3 years.
If it is a child-related issue, the judge will order documents to be produced that support the allegations for visitation or decision-making. Once the judge tells each party what they have to produce, the court gives them a deadline. The court then sets a response date for the non-moving party, which sometimes is a deadline to respond in writing. They have to file the response with the court. The moving party is then given an opportunity to file a written reply in support of their motion. At that presentation hearing, after they’ve produced the documents, responded to the original motion, and replied to the response, the judge gives them a hearing date. Sometimes, the hearing is evidentiary meaning the court hears testimony. Sometimes, it’s summary in nature. It just depends. At the hearing, the parties bring in all of their evidence and witnesses, and present their case in support of the modification that they’re requesting.
For more information on Modifications in Divorce Cases in Illinois, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (847) 234-4445 today.