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Post-Divorce Modifications in Illinois

Rolling Meadows Divorce Attorney

Sometimes, unfair and inappropriate divorce settlements are entered into the record, forcing a couple and their children into a set of requirements that does not fit their needs. In other cases, a settlement that is appropriate for a couple at the time of their divorce is no longer appropriate years later because of changed circumstances like new jobs, relocations, remarriages, and the changing needs of their growing children. When a divorce settlement is not appropriate for a couple, it is possible to alter its terms through a post-decree modification.

Why Would a Couple Make Modifications to Their Divorce Settlement?

Generally, it becomes necessary for a divorce settlement to be altered when one or both of the partners experiences substantially changed personal or economic circumstances that make it impractical or impossible to continue complying with the original terms of the settlement.

For example, child support orders are calculated using each parent’s income. If an individual who pays child support loses his or her job and cannot afford to make these payments, he or she may seek a modification of the child support order. In another example, an individual who pays spousal maintenance might find out that his or her former partner has remarried or moved in with a new partner, changing his or her household income. In this case, the paying spouse may demonstrate to the court that his or her former spouse no longer qualifies for spousal maintenance.

How to Modify a Divorce Settlement in Illinois

How to complete your modification depends on the part of your settlement that you wish to modify. Unless you can demonstrate that your property was divided fraudulently, you typically cannot modify your property division order if 30 days or more have passed since your settlement was signed. If 30 days have not yet passed, you can file a motion with the court that handled your divorce to modify your property settlement.

Unless your child is in serious danger of harm, you must wait at least two years from the date when your order was signed to modify your parenting plan unless both parents agree to the modification. If one parent does not agree, the other must submit proof to the court that the modification would be in the child’s best interest. Another exception is if one parent wants to move out of state with the child. In this type of case, if the other parent does not consent, the parent seeking the change to their parenting plan must demonstrate that the move would be in the child’s best interest.

To modify a spousal maintenance agreement, the paying spouse must submit proof of the changed circumstances necessitating the modification to the court. A similar process is used to modify child support orders.

Working with an Attorney to Modify your Divorce Settlement

To modify your divorce settlement, you must submit proof of the changed circumstance that necessitates the change. Your lawyer can help you obtain this proof, such as documentation of your former partner’s new marriage or copies of your pay stubs or tax returns showing your changed income.

In cases where modifications are sought for more controversial reasons, like alleged child abuse by one parent or allegations of property being divided fraudulently, a lawyer can play a critical role in obtaining and making use of available evidence. Before you take action to change your divorce settlement, speak with a divorce lawyer to determine the correct process for completing your desired change. In this latter category, it is very important that you do not make an empty or unsubstantiated accusation. A false accusation of child abuse can hurt your own reputation as a parent and impact any future modifications that you want to make to your parenting time order, such as a request to move beyond your permitted radius.

Work with an Experienced Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer

If you are considering filing for divorce, or if you are already divorced and considering modifying your divorce settlement, speak with an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce lawyer, Donald J. Cosley, of the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley. Contact our office today to set up your free consultation with Mr. Cosley, during which you can discuss your concerns and present circumstances to determine the most effective way to move forward with your case.

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