Child custody disputes are inherently difficult situations. Almost all parents love their children deeply and want as much time with them as possible, but unfortunately the children cannot be in two different places at once. The argument over who the children should spend the most time with can be the most contentious part of a divorce.
But unlike other parts of divorce that are finished once a divorce is final, the question of custody is not permanently resolved until the children come of age. This means that, when circumstances change, custody arrangements can change as well.
What are Grounds for a Change in Custody?
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a motion to modify custody can be successful if the moving parent can show that a change in circumstances has occurred, and a change in custody is in the child's best interest. Often, the main argument in these cases is over whether or not a sufficient change in circumstances has occurred. This portion of the law exists so that a parent who disagrees with the court's decision regarding custody cannot keep challenging it repeatedly if the facts have not changed that should affect the outcome.
Under Illinois law, changed conditions are not in themselves enough to change custody. Instead, there must be a showing that the changes impact the welfare of the kids. Under most circumstances, one must also show that at least two years have passed since a judge signed the last custody order.
Child Does Not Actually Have to be Harmed
While the change of circumstances has to affect a child's welfare, it does not mean a court has to sit on its hands until a child is actually harmed. Under Illinois law, courts can modify custody so long as the change in circumstances could lead to future harm or adversely affect the child's welfare.
What Sort of Changes are Possible?
While people often think of “custody” as regarding who the children live with the majority of the time, there is more to it. Changes in custody can include:
- Changes as to which parent a child or children live with most of the time;
- Changes as to which parent is making day-to-day decisions about and for the child;
- Changes as to which parent pays child support; and
- Changes as to visitation schedules.
Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C.
When you are involved in a child custody dispute, you need a passionate attorney who is willing to fight for your rights. That is why you should call the experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. Call us today at 630-665-7676 and we will schedule an appointment to go over the details of your case.