When the Illinois courts approve a parenting plan, you and your ex will typically need to follow the rules in that plan as you share custody. The division of parenting time and the way you share decision-making authority will affect everyone’s daily lives. Eventually, the family will adjust to the new situation.
However, not all parents are happy about the outcome of litigated custody proceedings. They may find themselves having far less than half of the parenting time for their children. The good news is that co-parents in Illinois have the right to go back to court and ask for a modification hearing.
Sometimes, if you and your ex agree about the changes, you can file an uncontested modification request. Otherwise, you can have a litigated modification hearing and make a case for more time with the children. When are such modifications possible?
When you believe your children are not safe
Most couples cannot ask for a custody modification in the first two years after the courts finalize their divorce. However, the state does make an exception for situations that involve a parent worried about the well-being of the children while with the other parent.
If your children have endured neglect or abuse with their other parent, then the situation may justify a modification request filed within two years of the initial custody order.
When you improve your situation
If the courts limited your parenting time because of your living circumstances or alcohol consumption, you can take the two years until you can ask for modification and use that time to become a better parent. Addressing mental health issues or substance abuse problems with professional help will put you in a good position to ask for more parenting time once that option is available to you.
When family circumstances change
Maybe your children have stopped doing homeschooling and will instead enroll at public school, drastically shifting their schedules. Maybe you have recently changed professions or took a new position that changes the time you work. Changes in family circumstances can justify modification requests for co-parenting families in Illinois.
Knowing when you can update your child custody arrangements after the courts approve a parenting plan can make it easier to be an actively involved parent.