Modifying a Parenting Plan
The parenting agreement you sign at the time of your divorce might not serve your child well until he or she becomes an adult.
A parenting plan is divided into two components: parenting time and parental responsibilities. You can modify one or many items in your parenting plan by filing paperwork with the court to alter it. If you and your former spouse agree to the change, this is an easy process. If you do not agree on the proposed changes, you will have to demonstrate to the court that circumstances in your lives have changed and the proposed new plan is in your child’s best interest.
Your Child’s Needs Change as He or She Grows
When your child is in elementary school, remaining in the same school after your divorce could be in his or her best interest because this means one less disruption. By high school, attending a school that has greater academic resources might be a higher priority, which can mean changing districts. In this case, consider altering your parenting plan so your child attends the school that can serve him or her better.
Changes in a Parent’s Household Impact the Child
When a parent’s new partner enters the picture, the household dynamic changes. Stepchildren and new babies can push this dynamic change further, which can have a negative impact on a child. If a child’s relationship with one parent becomes strained because of this type of change, it could be in the child’s best interest to spend more time with the other parent.
A Parent’s Lifestyle Changes
Typically, a parenting plan can only be modified after it has been in effect for at least two years unless the parents agree to a modification. An exception to this is if one parent wants to make a substantial move. Depending on where in Illinois he or she resides, a parent needs permission from a former partner or the court to move 25 or 50 miles away with his or her child. This necessitates a change to the parenting plan.
Other lifestyle changes that can impact a child include a parent’s health, job loss, new job, or the parent joining a new religion.
If your Child Is in Danger
Another exception to the two-year rule for modifications is if the child is in danger of being harmed due to a parent’s domestic violence, substance use, or criminal activity. If you fear your child is being harmed or at risk of being harmed, keep him or her with you and notify your lawyer that you have done so. You can then work with your lawyer and the court to modify your parenting plan.
Work with an Experienced St. Charles Family Lawyer
As children grow, their needs change. Your child might voice opinions about his or her parenting plan or you might find that he or she is not being served well by the plan as it exists. To learn more about modifying an existing parenting plan, contact Shaw Sanders, P.C. to schedule your free consultation with an experienced Kane County family lawyer. Call us at 630-584-5550 for help.