My Illinois Divorce Order is Unfair. Can I Request a Modification?

complex-divorceThe unpleasant truth about divorce orders is that neither spouse is entirely satisfied with the results. Compromise, negotiations, and a reduction in parenting time with children practically guarantees that nobody is going to get everything they want.

Anticipating this, Illinois courts have made it difficult to modify divorce orders except in certain circumstances. This article discusses when a divorce order may be modified, which parts of the divorce order may be modified, and what you can do if you believe your divorce order merits a second look.

When Can A Divorce Order Be Modified?

Unless there was an error on the part of the courts in interpreting or applying the law to a couple’s circumstances, divorce orders generally cannot be modified until at least two years have passed since the original order was finalized.

Failing to abide by the terms of a divorce decree can result in substantial legal penalties for the violating party. Until a divorce decree has been formally modified, both parties are required to abide by its terms no matter how unfair they may believe it is.

Which Parts of a Divorce Order Can be Modified?

Unless one spouse can prove that the other spouse lied about their assets or finances, the division of marital property is final and cannot be modified at all. However, other parts of a divorce order can be modified under the appropriate circumstances. The circumstances that may warrant a modification of a divorce order include:

  • Financial changes – Job or income loss, unexpected medical expenses for the child, and remarriage are all circumstances that could justify modifying certain parts of a divorce decree.
  • Location changes – Where the child primarily lives is determined by a legally binding parenting plan that is part of a divorce decree. Although parents must get permission from the other parent and the court, it is possible to modify a parenting plan to enable a parent to move and take the child with them.
  • Family Death or Crisis – If one parent suddenly finds themselves the full-time caregiver for an ill family member or in another major life crisis, parents may need to make temporary custody changes.

How Can I Petition to Modify My Divorce Order?

Individuals hoping to modify their divorce order must file a petition requesting the modification and give evidence of the substantial change in circumstances that warrants the modification. Courts will primarily consider the best interests of any children when making decisions about divorce order modifications.

If a judge finds that an ex-spouse is requesting a modification in bad faith, to be vengeful, or to harass, he or she may order the spouse requesting the modification to pay attorney and court fees for all parties involved.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Divorce Modification Attorney

It may be difficult to modify divorce orders, but it is not impossible – especially with the help of an experienced Arlington Heights divorce order modification attorney. At Cosley Law Office, we have worked with many cases like yours and have successfully petitioned to modify divorce orders. We will help you understand whether petitioning for a modification is appropriate and we will fight for your rights after a divorce. Call our office today at 847-253-3100 to schedule your free consultation.



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