If A Current Custody Or Child Support Order Has Been In Place For Less Than Two Years, Does That Matter When It Comes To Requesting A Modification To An Existing Order In Illinois?
The length of time that the order is in place is not taken into consideration when it relates to child support. The consideration is whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances that justifies a modification of support. A good guideline is 10%. If your income has gone up or down 10%, the courts in Illinois will usually consider that a substantial change in circumstances. They will apply the new statute of child support consistent with the law.
As to custody, the term “custody” is no longer used in Illinois. The term is now “parental decision-making.” Parental decision-making consists of decisions about religion, medicine, education, and extracurricular activities. In Illinois, if you have an order regarding parental decision-making that has been in place for less than one year, you would have to show that there is an endangerment to the child if you wish to modify the parental decision-making portion of your order. After two years, you could just show that it is in the best interest of your child to modify the parental decision-making portion of your order. It is a very different standard if it’s less than two years vs. more than two years.
You can get your allocation judgment modified when it relates to visitation or parental time. The allocation judgment relates to parenting issues in regard to parental decision-making, visitation, and parental time with the child. That allocation judgment can be modified as to parenting time in the first two years, and it’s always based on the child’s best interests. Many attorneys label their motion “motion to modify parenting time and other matters.” When they get in front of the judge, they argue that the decision-making portion needs to be modified based on the visitation modification. They often get away with it that way. However, pursuant to our law, you have to wait two years to modify the parental decision-making, unless there is a serious endangerment to the child.
Is The Two-Year Golden Rule Put In Place To Give Some Sort Of Consistency To The Child Or Children?
The purpose of the two-year rule is to give consistency to the child and allow each parent to have enough time to get into a groove with the provisions of the order. It’s also put in place to stop frivolous litigation. Many times, abusive spouses use children to continue the abuse and use our courts as a forum for abuse. And so, if they’re not allowed to modify, except with serious endangerment, then it stops them from being able to come into court and file frivolous motions to modify. In many cases, filing frivolously serves as an abuse tactic or technic.
If Both Parents Agree To Suggested Changes, Is It Likely That A Judge Will Grant A Modification To A Child Support Or Custody Order In Illinois?
In Illinois, the courts are taking agreed orders more readily than they have ever done before, especially during the COVID pandemic situation. Currently, if you want to change a court order regarding either child support, parental decision-making, or visitation, the courts are taking them almost without comment if you prepare and submit an agreed upon order. In many cases, you don’t even have to have a court appearance. They will just enter them. It is my perception that there is very little pushback from the courts in almost all cases. That is especially true if you have an attorney on either side. We have been presenting these type of orders to the court via email and have not gotten a single question. It gives litigants an opportunity to resolve their issues with the court with very little expense. That is a significant benefit as long as all parties involved are in agreement. If both sides agree what is in their family’s best interests, I believe the court should enter it. In many cases, you used to have to file a motion, get before the court, and get the court to sign off on it. That normally takes at least two court appearances and seven hours. By being able to create an agreed order, emailing it to the judge, and getting it entered, it has become a huge benefit to our clients and litigants in Illinois. There aren’t that many benefits to the pandemic, but this is certainly one.
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.