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What Are the Steps for Modifying an Illinois Divorce Order?

 Posted on December 24, 2020 in Divorce

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When going through a divorce, a couple may think once they sign the final paperwork, everything is set in stone. However, that may not necessarily be the case. Situations and circumstances can change down the road, which can mean an existing divorce order is not appropriate anymore. In Illinois, the usual type of orders are outlined in a parenting plan, and they cover issues such as spousal maintenance, allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), child support, and parenting time (visitation). The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many people, with some experiencing reduced work hours or a job loss. These circumstances may warrant a change to an existing divorce order.

A Substantial Change in Circumstances

To increase the chances that a current order can be changed, an individual must show valid reasons for it. If a couple has children, any request that is made should also be in the best interest of the kids. For a change in parental decision-making, a parent has to wait at least two years from the original order, with the only exception being if the child is in danger.

A few of the main factors that generally warrant an order modification are:

  • A major change in employment status made in good faith
  • One party remarries or cohabitates with another
  • A child’s special needs (physical or mental)
  • Both parties agree to the modification
  • One party fails to abide by the terms of the order

Just as important, there are several circumstances that do not warrant an order modification, including:

  • One party simply wishes to lower his or her payment
  • One party voluntarily quits his or her job and takes a lower-paying job
  • The change would adversely affect minor children

Any post-divorce modification must be approved by the court before changes to support payments can take effect. Not adhering to a divorce judgment can result in a contempt order.

Legal Process for Amending an Order

Divorce proceedings can be complicated, especially in contested splits. In many cases, if a couple did not agree on issues during the initial process, they may not be on the same page about modifying an order. That is why the legal guidance of an experienced attorney can be crucial in making sure someone follows the proper procedure when undertaking this endeavor.

The main steps involved when modifying an existing order are:

  • Fill out the required legal forms.
  • Draft a motion to modify, including the reasons for the change.
  • Sign the motion with a notary public present.
  • Include any attachments and make copies of the motion.
  • File the motion with the court clerk’s office that issued the divorce decree.

Contact a Barrington Divorce Lawyer

A divorce typically involves many issues that need resolving, which are put into official orders after the divorce is finalized. If you and your spouse are having difficulties reaching an agreement, a reputable Inverness divorce attorney can help you make these important decisions while also making sure your rights are protected. When circumstances change, one spouse may file a motion to amend child support or spousal maintenance order. Call The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson today at 847.873.6741 to schedule a free consultation.


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