What is the Process for Amending My Parenting Time Agreement?
By: M. Scott Gordon
When you go through a divorce in the Chicago area and develop a parenting time agreement the court approves, you might feel anxious or concerned if it turns out that you need to amend your parenting plan. However, there are many different reasons one or both parents might need to modify an existing parenting time agreement. In many situations, the process is relatively straightforward. Depending upon the reasons for the modification and the degree of the modification (how significantly you want to amend the agreement), there are different processes for getting the parenting time agreement changed.
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), there are a variety of situations for amending a parenting time agreement.
Proposed Modification Reflects the Actual Arrangement
What is the process for amending a parenting time plan when the proposed modification reflects the actual arrangement the parents and child have been using for the last six months or more? When the proposed modification reflects the actual arrangement and both of the parents agree to the modification, the court can simply amend the agreement – as long as the proposed modification is in the best interests of the child. With help from a family law attorney, this type of modification can be quickly completed.
Minor Modification Request
What about a situation in which one of the parents is seeking only a minor modification? For example, what is the process for amending a parenting time agreement if a parent wants to permanently shift the timetable for a particular holiday each year? The IMDMA makes clear that, in situations where the parent is requesting only a minor modification, as long as the modification is in the child’s best interests, the court will usually grant the request.
While a minor modification is not defined specifically under the IMDMA, a family law attorney in the Chicago area can help you to understand whether the amendment you are seeking looks more like a “minor modification” or a request based on a “substantial change in circumstances.”
Substantial Change in Circumstances
When there has been a substantial change in circumstances, then the process to modify an existing parenting time agreement is slightly different. The parent seeking the modification will need to show there has been a substantial change in circumstances and the change in circumstances “necessitates modification to serve the best interests of the child.” The IMDMA does not provide a precise definition for a substantial change in circumstances, and it is important to know if the modification less or more than 2 years since the entry of the Order you are seeking to change. However, a Chicago family lawyer can assess your case and help you to understand whether it will be necessary to show that a substantial change in circumstances necessitates a modification of the parenting time agreement.
Contact a Chicago Parenting Time Lawyer