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What Can I Do If My Parenting Plan Is No Longer Working for My Family?

 Posted on April 13, 2021 in Child Custody

IL family lawyerParents filing for divorce in Illinois are required to complete additional steps throughout the divorce process. Not only do they create arrangements as a couple, such as dividing their marital assets and determining spousal maintenance, but they must also decide how they will continue to care for their children after the end of their marriage. When creating a parenting plan, divorcing parents consider all aspects of their children’s lives, such as their physical and emotional needs, academic and extracurricular schedules, and more. But what about the changes that are bound to happen in the child’s life? How can a parenting plan be prepared for the unexpected?

Parenting Plan Modifications

The Illinois court system recognizes that divorce agreements do not always last the tests of time, especially when it comes to parenting plans. Within a parenting plan, divorcing parents will designate parenting time, the allocation of parental responsibilities, and child support. Parenting time outlines where and when the child will be living with each parent while the allocation of parental responsibilities states what decision-making capabilities each parent has. All of these decisions are made in the best interests of the child and should reflect that moving forward. If you find that certain parts of your parenting plan are not working, you are able to update your plan in a process known as post-decree modifications. For those who completed their divorce outside of a courtroom, you and your co-parent will need to reconvene with the help of your attorneys to make these adjustments. For those who had a trial divorce, a judge will need to listen to your requests and make decisions on your behalf.

The following areas of your parenting plan can be modified:

  • Parenting time - As your children get older, their schedules are bound to change. They will spend more time with their friends, participating in extracurricular activities, working a part-time job, and more. Additionally, you or your co-parent’s working obligations may change. When these schedule changes begin to interfere with either parent’s time with their children, you are able to request a change in your parenting schedule. As long as the changes are in the best interests of the children, your attorneys or a judge will approve adjustments. If a parent relocates, this also requires a change in parenting time and permission from the court.
  • Allocation of parental responsibilities - In most cases, both parents will have an equal share of parental responsibilities. If, however, one parent is deemed irresponsible or incapable of making good decisions on the child’s behalf, their ability to do so can be limited. This can include decisions on the child’s education, religion, and medical procedures. Decision-making authority cannot be altered for the first two years after the parenting plan is made unless the child is in danger. If either parent can show a significant change in circumstances after this two-year time has passed, they will be able to modify their parental responsibilities.
  • Child support - Have you recently lost your job or seen a pay cut? If you are the paying parent, changes like these can leave you incapable of making your monthly payments. If you are the receiving parent, you may need more money from your co-parent to properly meet your child’s needs. Providing child support is necessary while the child is under the age of 18, but it is not meant to leave the paying parent financially struggling. If either parent has seen a significant change in circumstances, it is important to address this with the court to make these payments more feasible and applicable to your current situation.

Contact a DuPage County Post-Divorce Modification Attorney

If you filed for divorce years ago, you may not realize that adjusting your parenting plan is a possibility. The decisions that you made when you first filed for divorce do not need to determine the rest of your life as a parent, especially if your circumstances have changed. At Hensley Sendek Law, LLC, our attorneys are prepared to advocate on your behalf and make the necessary adjustments so that you and your children can live a happier life. For help modifying your divorce agreement or parenting plan, contact our Wheaton post-divorce modification lawyers at 630-358-9029 to schedule your free consultation.




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