Parenting time modifications may become necessary when the current parenting schedule or custody arrangement is no longer in the best interests of the child or children involved. There are various reasons why a parent may want to change a visitation schedule in Illinois, including changes in living arrangements, physical health, or financial situation.
Moreover, a parent may request a modification if the child is at risk or if the current circumstances pose a physical or emotional danger to the child. Our Chicago custody attorneys can assist with modifying a parenting plan, and this article will provide a step-by-step guide on changing visitation schedules in Illinois.
Why Would You Change a Visitation Schedule?
Changing visitation schedules or parenting time modifications is the process of changing an existing arrangement regarding child custody in Illinois. This includes changes to the actual physical custody of a child, decisions regarding decision-making responsibility, and other aspects of the current parenting plan.
With the rate of divorce, an increasing number of parents have to modify their custody arrangements to provide the best possible care for their children. Illinois's divorce rate stands at 12%, with 13.52 out of every 1,000 individuals having ended their marriage in 2021, making it the 15th highest state in terms of divorces across the United States. It follows that numerous families may seek to modify their parenting time or custody agreements.
How to Modify Visitation in Illinois
Modifying a child custody agreement in Illinois requires a modification of the parenting plan. The parenting plan outlines the parenting schedule and decision-making responsibility for the child or children involved. If the parents agree on the proposed modification, they can file a stipulated motion to modify parenting time with the court. The court may approve the modification if it is in the best interests of the child.
If the parents do not agree on the proposed modification, the parent seeking the modification can file a motion to modify parenting time. The filing parent must provide evidence supporting the modification and show how it is in the best interests of the child.
The burden of proof required in Illinois to modify a parenting plan is a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the evidence presented must prove that the modification is more likely to be in the best interests of the child than not.
Sometimes, the courts may require an evaluation to be conducted by a mental health professional before making a decision regarding the modification. The court may also order mediation or parenting classes before making a final decision. All this is usually done to aid the parents in developing a mutually agreeable modification of the parenting plan, without having to go to court.
Modifying Parenting Time for the Primary Parent
When modifying parenting time for the primary parent, the court will consider the current parenting time arrangement and the reason for the modification. The parent seeking the modification must demonstrate that it is in the child's best interests to modify the current parenting schedule. The court will consider factors such as the child's emotional development, the current circumstances of the family, and any physical or emotional danger the child may face.
Learn More: Can You Appeal a Custody Order?
Furthermore, when modifying parenting time for the primary parent, the court must consider how changing the parenting schedule will affect other aspects of the family, such as child support payments and decision-making responsibility. If the modification is granted, the custodial parent may be required to provide additional forms or documents as part of the modification.
How is a Parenting Plan Modified When the Parents Do Not Agree?
When parents do not agree on the proposed modification, the court will schedule a hearing. At the hearing, both parents may present evidence and testimony to support their position. The court will consider the evidence presented and make a decision based on the best interests of the child. If the court approves the modification, it will issue an order modifying the parenting plan.
Also, the court may appoint an attorney or a guardian ad litem (GAL)to represent the child's interests. The GAL will investigate the family and make a recommendation to the court about whether or not the requested modification is in the best interests of the child. Overall, when it comes to modifying a parenting plan, the court will always prioritize the best interests of the child.
How Do You Respond to a Motion to Modify Parenting Time?
If the other parent files a motion to modify parenting time, it is important to respond in a timely manner. The responding parent should provide evidence to support their position and explain why the proposed modification is not in the best interests of the child. Additionally, the responding parent should be prepared to attend a hearing if one is scheduled.
What Are the Steps in Changing a Visitation Order?
To modify parenting time, it is important to understand the application procedure for filing a motion with the court. The parent seeking the modification must file a motion and supporting documents with the court. These documents may include additional forms or affidavits if required.
More so, the filing parent must pay a filing fee to the court. It is important to note that there are special considerations when modifying parenting time for children of incarcerated parents; in these cases, it is best to consult with an experienced order modification attorney.
Lastly, the filing parent must serve the other parent with a copy of the motion and supporting documents. If the responding parent does not file an answer, then the court may enter a default judgment granting the requested modification.
Chose the Right Firm for Your Parenting Time Modification Case
Choosing the right family law firm when filing for a parenting time modification in Illinois is important. Experienced family law attorneys can provide guidance throughout the process and help ensure that your legal rights are protected. These attorneys can provide advice on the legal burden of proof required to modify a parenting plan and advise you on any special considerations that may apply.
At Tommalieh Law, we have a team of experienced family law attorneys who are committed to helping our clients protect their legal rights and the best interests of their children. We understand the complexities of family law and can help guide you through the process of modifying a parenting plan. Book a consultation with us today to get started - at (708) 232-0017.