Your Illinois parenting plan is important for your entire family following your divorce or separation from the other parent of your children. The terms established in your plan govern your responsibilities to one another and the children that you share.
The official terms for the division of your parental rights and responsibilities are what you can enforce if there is a dispute between the two of you later. Therefore, it is obviously important that you keep things as up-to-date as possible. Some parents are able to rely on their custody order until their children turn 18, while others end up back in family court seeking formal modifications.
A modification will change your parenting plan to better reflect your current family circumstances. What are some of the reasons that you might need to consider a modification?
1. You and the other parents fight over adjustments
As your family schedule inevitably changes, you may find that your existing parenting plan is no longer appropriate for your situation. Instead, you find yourself needing to make frequent adjustments to the schedule.
Unfortunately, every single change seems to lead to a dispute between you and the other parent of your children. When you can show a significant change to your schedule that has forced repeated changes to your parenting arrangement, a judge may agree to modify the parenting plan to address those new family scheduling needs.
2. You are in a better personal situation
It is common for those facing divorce to struggle in the early months of their separation. If you had trouble finding housing or coping with the mental challenges of divorce, a judge may have limited your parenting time under the assumption that doing so would be what was best for your children.
Once you can show that your situation is more stable, a judge may happily increase how much time you have with the children. There are many improvements in your life that might warrant an update to your Illinois parenting plan.
3. You’ve noticed negative changes with the other parent
Although no one wants a custody arrangement to end up derailed because of someone’s personal struggles, some families find themselves in that situation. If your ex has developed a substance abuse disorder or has started dating someone who is physically abusive toward the children, you may need to request an update to your parenting plan to protect your children from the harm that might result if you don’t intervene.
It is typically preferable to have a custody order that accurately reflects your family circumstances than to simply have a verbal arrangement with the other parent for certain terms, like increased parenting time for you based on your better circumstances. Knowing when to go back to court for a post-decree modification can help you maximize your presence in the lives of your children.