It takes a lot of careful consideration to establish a reasonable plan for sharing parenting time after a divorce or parental breakup in Illinois. The courts have to make determinations regarding the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities unless parents reach a mutual agreement.
It is common for those who share parenting time to feel strongly like they don’t have enough time with their children. Illinois parents do have the option of going back to court to seek a modification or formal update of their existing parenting plan if their co-parent won’t agree to adjusted terms. When are such revisions theoretically possible?
Two years after the creation of the original order
Given that it is common for both parents to be at least moderately dissatisfied with the outcome of litigated family law matters, it would be a terrible burden on the family courts if every dissatisfied parent could instantly request a modification. Therefore, Illinois has some common-sense limitations on modification requests. Specifically, state law requires that parents wait two years after the initial division of their parenting time to request a modification. Even then, they will typically need some noteworthy change in circumstances to justify the request. However, there are scenarios in which parents may need to take legal action much more quickly than that for the safety and well-being of their children.
The primary exception to the two-year rule for parenting time modifications involves a scenario in which one parent can show that the initial division of parental rights and responsibilities has put the children in harm’s way. Barring evidence of neglect, abuse or physical harm befalling the children, parents will typically need to wait at least two years after going to court to head back and ask for an updated division of parenting time.
Those who are familiar with the Illinois statutes related to the division of parenting time and other parental responsibilities will be in a better position to advocate for their relationship with their children. Knowing when a modification is possible and seeking legal guidance can help people to more effectively secure a reasonable allocation of time with their children.