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When Can I Adjust My Parenting Plan?In every divorce involving children, parenting plans must be formulated. Parenting plans, commonly known as custody arrangements, divide responsibilities between each parent. They define responsibilities such as the time each parent is scheduled to spend with their child, who should be the one taking the child to medical visits, and which house the child will reside in. These are just a few of the many responsibilities required of a parent as well as those that are defined under parenting plans. While parenting plans are legally in place until the child turns 18 years old, it is almost impossible for them to last that long without a need for adjustments – situations change and so do children’s needs. 

Which Situations Warrant an Adjustment?

As with any legally-binding contract, there must be legitimate proof that an adjustment is necessary. Judges do not simply change parenting plans for the convenience of the parent. There are certain situations that will allow, and even prompt, judges to modify a family’s arrangement. The following are common examples:

  • The child is not safe, especially in their residence;
  • A parent is moving or relocating;
  • The child is older and has asked for adjustments to be made;
  • A parent’s work schedule has changed, affecting their ability or flexibility to care for the child;
  • The family’s situation has changed, specifically their financial stability; and/or
  • Their current arrangement is not being followed.

Some families have a combination of the circumstances mentioned above, while others have different reasons altogether. Regardless, each decision is situational and is dependent on the child’s best interests.

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Lombard family law attorneysCreating a parenting plan following a divorce can be a challenge, especially when you and your spouse cannot see eye-to-eye on the arrangements. The role of a professional, certified mediator can be extremely helpful as you piece together the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation), but what happens when the parenting plan you work so hard to negotiate falls apart down the road or causes continual conflict?

When assessing your current parenting plan and whether or not it would benefit from certain modifications, consider the following:

  • Are your children content with existing visitation patterns? If your child is demonstrating any resistance or is showing any signs of emotional distress while sharing time with either parent, it is wise to reassess and consider whether or not the current parenting time schedule is conducive to your family’s needs and general well-being; and
  • Has tension between you and your spouse escalated recently? If you are experiencing more conflict than usual between you and your spouse or within the family circle, it might be time to re-evaluate your dynamic and current parenting plan arrangements. While some conflict can be brought on due to external family changes, such as school or job performance, or a new significant other stepping onto the scene, some conflict cannot be resolved by time or circumstantial change. It might be time to seek professional assistance to ensure your parenting plan is as efficient--and healthy--as it can be for your entire family.

How the State Can Help

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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