What Are Post-Decree Disputes?
As circumstances often change after a divorce, Illinois dissolution of marriage laws allow post-decree modifications. Post-Decree modification simply means you or the other party is requesting the Court modify your divorce agreement or judgment after the parties have already been divorced. It is a fact of life that your life does and will change after your divorce. Changing your permanent orders following the entry of the divorce decree can help reflect major life changes in a way that makes sense for all parties involved. Parties must petition the court for a modification and this must be approved. There are consequences for parties who stray from an initial dissolution of marriage order without seeking court permission.
Parental Decision Making (Child Custody) And Parenting Time (Visitation) Modifications
There are many situations that may lead to a parental decision making and parenting time modification. Common examples include a parent moving away or out of state. Removal cases are more complicated as they involve taking a child out of the state in which the divorce order was entered.
A dispute between the ex-spouses regarding the rearing of their children can sometimes necessitate one of the spouses requesting the Court modify the divorce judgment or agreement.
Children continue to mature years after a divorce judgment is entered, and the needs of the children may change after the parties divorce, which may require one of the parties to request a modification.
Illinois Law Regarding Modification of Decision Making and Parenting Time
Sec. 610.5. Modification.
(a) Unless by stipulation of the parties or except as provided in Section 603.10 of this Act, no motion to modify an order allocating parental decision-making responsibilities, not including parenting time, may be made earlier than 2 years after its date, unless the court permits it to be made on the basis of affidavits that there is reason to believe the child's present environment may endanger seriously his or her mental, moral, or physical health or significantly impair the child's emotional development. Parenting time may be modified at any time, without a showing of serious endangerment, upon a showing of changed circumstances that necessitates modification to serve the best interests of the child.
(c) Except in a case concerning the modification of any restriction of parental responsibilities under Section 603.10, the court shall modify a parenting plan or allocation judgment when necessary to serve the child's best interests if the court finds, by a preponderance of the evidence, that on the basis of facts that have arisen since the entry of the existing parenting plan or allocation judgment or were not anticipated therein, a substantial change has occurred in the circumstances of the child or of either parent and that a modification is necessary to serve the child's best interests.
(d) The court shall modify a parenting plan or allocation judgment in accordance with a parental agreement, unless it finds that the modification is not in the child's best interests.
(e) The court may modify a parenting plan or allocation judgment without a showing of changed circumstances if (i) the modification is in the child's best interests; and (ii) any of the following are proven as to the modification:
(1) the modification reflects the actual arrangement under which the child has been receiving care, without parental objection, for the 6 months preceding the filing of the petition for modification, provided that the arrangement is not the result of a parent's acquiescence resulting from circumstances that negated the parent's ability to give meaningful consent;
(2) the modification constitutes a minor modification in the parenting plan or allocation judgment;
(3) the modification is necessary to modify an agreed parenting plan or allocation judgment that the court would not have ordered or approved under Section 602.5 or 602.7 had the court been aware of the circumstances at the time of the order or approval; or
(4) the parties agree to the modification.
(f) Attorney's fees and costs shall be assessed against a party seeking modification if the court finds that the modification action is vexatious or constitutes harassment. If the court finds that a parent has repeatedly filed frivolous motions for modification, the court may bar the parent from filing a motion for modification for a period of time.
Changing Spousal Support Or Child Support
Spousal support/alimony and child support can also be modified. Generally there has to be a substantial change in circumstances for any post-decree modification. Losing a job, remarriage or gainful employment are just some of the situations that may lead to a post-decree modification.
Illinois Law Regarding Modification of Maintenance and/or Child Support
Modification and termination of provisions for maintenance, support, educational expenses, and property disposition.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (f) of Section 502 and in subsection (b), clause (3) of Section 505.2, the provisions of any judgment respecting maintenance or support may be modified only as to installments accruing subsequent to due notice by the moving party of the filing of the motion for modification. An order for child support may be modified as follows:
(1) upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances; and
(2) without the necessity of showing a substantial change in circumstances, as follows:
(A) upon a showing of an inconsistency of at least 20%, but no less than $10 per month, between the amount of the existing order and the amount of child support that results from application of the guidelines specified in Section 505 of this Act unless the inconsistency is due to the fact that the amount of the existing order resulted from a deviation from the guideline amount and there has not been a change in the circumstances that resulted in that deviation; or
(B) upon a showing of a need to provide for the health care needs of the child under the order through health insurance or other means. In no event shall the eligibility for or receipt of medical assistance be considered to meet the need to provide for the child's health care needs.
The provisions of subparagraph (a)(2)(A) shall apply only in cases in which a party is receiving child support enforcement services from the Department of Healthcare and Family Services under Article X of the Illinois Public Aid Code, and only when at least 36 months have elapsed since the order for child support was entered or last modified.
The court may grant a petition for modification that seeks to apply the changes made to subsection (a) of Section 505 by Public Act 99-764 to an order entered before the effective date of Public Act 99-764 only upon a finding of a substantial change in circumstances that warrants application of the changes. The enactment of Public Act 99-764 itself does not constitute a substantial change in circumstances warranting a modification.
(a-5) An order for maintenance may be modified or terminated only upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. In all such proceedings, as well as in proceedings in which maintenance is being reviewed, the court shall consider the applicable factors set forth in subsection (a) of Section 504 and the following factors:
(1) any change in the employment status of either party and whether the change has been made in good faith;
(2) the efforts, if any, made by the party receiving maintenance to become self-supporting, and the reasonableness of the efforts where they are appropriate;
(3) any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of either party;
(4) the tax consequences of the maintenance payments upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties;
(5) the duration of the maintenance payments previously paid (and remaining to be paid) relative to the length of the marriage;
(6) the property, including retirement benefits, awarded to each party under the judgment of dissolution of marriage, judgment of legal separation, or judgment of declaration of invalidity of marriage and the present status of the property;
(7) the increase or decrease in each party's income since the prior judgment or order from which a review, modification, or termination is being sought;
(8) the property acquired and currently owned by each party after the entry of the judgment of dissolution of marriage, judgment of legal separation, or judgment of declaration of invalidity of marriage; and
(9) any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable.
(a-6) In a review under subsection (b-4.5) of Section 504 of this Act, the court may enter a fixed- term maintenance award that bars future maintenance only if, at the time of the entry of the award, the marriage had lasted 10 years or less at the time the original action was commenced.
(b) The provisions as to property disposition may not be revoked or modified, unless the court finds the existence of conditions that justify the reopening of a judgment under the laws of this State.
(c) Unless otherwise agreed by the parties in a written agreement set forth in the judgment or otherwise approved by the court, the obligation to pay future maintenance is terminated upon the death of either party, or the remarriage of the party receiving maintenance, or if the party receiving maintenance cohabits with another person on a resident, continuing conjugal basis. An obligor's obligation to pay maintenance or unallocated maintenance terminates by operation of law on the date the obligee remarries or the date the court finds cohabitation began. The obligor is entitled to reimbursement for all maintenance paid from that date forward. Any termination of an obligation for maintenance as a result of the death of the obligor, however, shall be inapplicable to any right of the other party or such other party's designee to receive a death benefit under such insurance on the obligor's life. An obligee must advise the obligor of his or her intention to marry at least 30 days before the remarriage, unless the decision is made within this time period. In that event, he or she must notify the obligor within 72 hours of getting married.
(c-5) In an adjudicated case, the court shall make specific factual findings as to the reason for the modification as well as the amount, nature, and duration of the modified maintenance award.
(d) Unless otherwise provided in this Act, or as agreed in writing or expressly provided in the judgment, provisions for the support of a child are terminated by emancipation of the child, or if the child has attained the age of 18 and is still attending high school, provisions for the support of the child are terminated upon the date that the child graduates from high school or the date the child attains the age of 19, whichever is earlier, but not by the death of a parent obligated to support or educate the child. An existing obligation to pay for support or educational expenses, or both, is not terminated by the death of a parent. When a parent obligated to pay support or educational expenses, or both, dies, the amount of support or educational expenses, or both, may be enforced, modified, revoked or commuted to a lump sum payment, as equity may require, and that determination may be provided for at the time of the dissolution of the marriage or thereafter.
(e) The right to petition for support or educational expenses, or both, under Sections 505, 513, and 513.5 is not extinguished by the death of a parent. Upon a petition filed before or after a parent's death, the court may award sums of money out of the decedent's estate for the child's support or educational expenses, or both, as equity may require. The time within which a claim may be filed against the estate of a decedent under Sections 505 and 513 and subsection (d) and this subsection shall be governed by the provisions of the Probate Act of 1975, as a barrable, noncontingent claim.
(f) A petition to modify or terminate child support or the allocation of parental responsibilities, including parenting time, shall not delay any child support enforcement litigation or supplementary proceeding on behalf of the obligee, including, but not limited to, a petition for a rule to show cause, for non-wage garnishment, or for a restraining order.
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