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Modifying a Child Custody Agreement in Illinois Requires a Substantial Change in Circumstances

After a child custody agreement is signed, it is rare that both parents feel 100 percent satisfied with the outcome. After all, don’t most parents wish they could have their children all the time?

When two parents are no longer a couple, a custody agreement must be drawn up in such a way that is best for the child’s well-being. Once some time has passed, however, one of the parents may begin looking into how to modify the child custody order. Living situations and relationships can change a lot over the course of 18 years, and it is not uncommon for a parent to express his or her wishes to change the current Illinois custody agreement.

First of all, in Illinois, you cannot file a motion to modify a custody judgment any earlier than two years after the date it goes into effect. The only way you can have your modification considered before the two-year mark is if there is reason to believe the child’s present environment is seriously endangering his physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.

If you want to change your child custody agreement after two years or more, the court will need to be provided with “clear and convincing evidence” that there has been a substantial change in circumstances to warrant the modification. A substantial change could mean a parent or the child has developed a serious health condition, one of the parents refuses to hold up his end of the agreement, or one of the parents has changed her living situation.

If your only reason is that you want to see your child more, the court isn’t likely to find that sufficient grounds for modifying the current agreement. The judge’s goal is to provide your child with some sense of stability, and your personal feelings are not part of that equation.

Do you want to modify a current child custody order? Contact Polinske & Associates through our website’s simple contact form, or give us a call to schedule your free consultation.

Brian L. Polinske
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