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When Can an Illinois Divorce Decree or Judgment Be Modified?

 Posted on November 05, 2020 in Judgment Modifications

Naperville divorce modification attorneyThere are many different important decisions made during a divorce, and in many cases, one or both parties may be unhappy with the final divorce decree or judgment. Fortunately, these decisions are not necessarily “set in stone.” If things have changed in your life or your former partner’s situation, or if you need to make adjustments to better meet your children’s needs, you may be able to pursue a post-divorce modification. However, you should be sure to understand what can and cannot be changed and the procedures that you will need to follow when doing so.

Allowed Modifications to a Divorce Order

While there are some parts of your divorce agreement or judgment that may be changed, one issue that cannot be updated after divorce is the division of marital property. Even if you believe that this division was unfair or did not take certain factors into account, you will be unable to reopen that issue and change the decisions that were made.

Other decisions, however, may be modified, but to do so, you will need to show that you, your ex-spouse, or your children have experienced or will experience a “substantial change in circumstances.” These changes could include the loss of a job or a promotion or demotion that has affected one party’s income, or it could involve significant changes in a person’s needs or abilities, such as a medical condition that would cause a parent to be unable to provide care for children. It may be possible to seek a modification of the following issues:

  • Child custody - Typically, no changes can be made to the allocation of parental responsibilities within two years after the end of a divorce unless there are concerns about protecting a child’s physical or emotional health. Parenting time may be modified based on a significant change in circumstances, such as changes in parents’ work schedules or children’s schedules for school and activities. If a parent requests a modification to any of the terms in their parenting plan, they will need to show that it is in the children’s best interests.

  • Child support or spousal maintenance - Modifications to financial support obligations are usually based on changes in the income earned by one or both parties. If a parent loses their job, they may ask that their child support obligations be reduced, although the court may still require them to pay support based on the income they should be able to earn. Spousal support may be modified or terminated if the payor experiences a decrease in income or if the payee begins earning enough to support themselves. Spousal maintenance will be terminated if the payee gets remarried or begins cohabitating with a new partner.

Parents may also need to modify their divorce decree if one party plans to move to a new home a significant distance away from their current home. If a parent who lives in DuPage County plans to move with their child to a new home at least 25 miles away, this is considered parental relocation, and they will need to notify the other parent and the court and receive approval for any changes to their parenting plan.

Contact Our DuPage County Divorce Modification Lawyers

If you have experienced changes in your life, and you believe a modification to your divorce decree is appropriate, Calabrese Associates, P.C. can help you understand your legal options. We will advise you of your rights, and we will help you take the right steps to petition for a modification in court. To learn more about how we can help, contact our Naperville divorce attorneys at 630-393-3111.



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