Modification of Judgments
As a divorced couple experiences salary changes, remarriage or other life events, divorce judgments and parenting agreements should be modified to reflect this new set of circumstances. Fortunately, Illinois law permits the modification of nearly any issue covered in your original divorce—including maintenance (alimony), child support and parenting time. This is known as a modification of judgment.
If you choose to modify an existing judgment in Chicago, Evanston, Lake Forest or the surrounding suburbs, you do not need to use the same divorce lawyer as your original case. Stern Perkoski Mendez has extensive experience in modifying judgments and agreements in every area of your divorce. Whether you need to rearrange parenting time to fit your child’s ever-changing schedule or readdress alimony payments due to a change in income, our office can guide you through the process.
In Illinois, the list of modifiable subjects includes most issues that were initially addressed in the divorce:
- Maintenance (Alimony)
- Child Support
- Division of Children’s Expenses
- Parenting Time
- Parental Decision-Making Authority
One issue that can’t be modified is division of property; the decision made during the divorce is almost always final.
Modification of Maintenance (Alimony) in Chicago and Surrounding Suburbs
Also known as alimony or spousal support, maintenance is money paid by one divorced party to his or her ex-partner to provide a similar standard of living had the marriage stayed intact. A maintenance agreement in Chicago, Evanston, Lake Forest or the surrounding suburbs is usually modified in one of these events:
- When there is a substantial change in financial circumstance, typically because of an increase or decrease in the paying-spouse’s income
- If maintenance needs to be terminated due to the recipient-spouse’s remarriage
- If either party hid assets or was otherwise deceitful in providing financial information and disclosures
- When maintenance needs to be extended because the recipient-spouse is unable to become self-supporting—this may be due to poor employment prospects or serious illness
The new maintenance amount, regardless of whether it is increased or decreased, may only be ordered retroactive to the date you filed the modification request. That’s why it’s important to talk to your divorce lawyer as soon as you think you need to adjust your spousal support agreement.
Learn more about how Stern Perkoski Mendez works with clients to address Maintenance (Alimony).
Modification of Child Support in Evanston, Chicago and Lake Forest
Child support payments are made to the parent with the majority of parenting time to assist with the financial burden of raising the child. A child support agreement in Chicago, the North Shore and the surrounding suburbs is usually modified when:
- There is a substantial change in financial circumstance—either an increase or decrease in the paying-spouse’s income
- There is a dramatic change in the needs of the child
If the paying-spouse fails to pay child support, then the issue is no longer the need to modify child support—but rather to enforce the child support obligation.
Like maintenance, child support may only be modified retroactive to the date you filed the petition, so it is important to modify as soon as there is a change. Contact Stern Perkoski Mendez to learn more about child support.
Division of Children’s Expenses
Separate from child support, a child’s other expenses—including day care, educational, medical and extracurricular activity fees—are often shared by the parents. Parents usually modify the division of children’s expenses when:
- A parent’s income substantially changes after the divorce judgment
- A child’s expenses increase or decrease
Learn more about how Stern Perkoski Mendez divide children’s expenses on our Child Support page.
Modification of Parenting Time in Chicago and Surrounding Suburbs
Also known as visitation, parenting time is the time each parent spends with his or her child following the divorce. A parenting time schedule is usually modified for the following reasons:
- When the child’s schedule changes due to school or extracurricular activities
- When new careers or life events alter the day-to-day plans of the parents
- For the continued best interest of the child as he or she grows
A parenting time schedule should ensure that both parents regularly spend quality time with the child. If a parenting schedule no longer permits the parents to meet that goal, it must be modified to reflect the needs and circumstances of all involved.
Contact Stern Perkoski Mendez in Evanston, Chicago and Lake Forest to discuss modifying your parenting time.
Modifying Parental Decision-Making Authority in Illinois
Parental decision-making authority is the legal right to make decisions regarding the child and how that authority is divided between the child’s parents. Modification of decision-making authority usually occurs:
- At any time when the child’s best interests might require a change
- If one parent proves unable to co-parent or act in the child’s best interest
When a parental decision-making authority agreement is being modified, the court will consider the same factors as during the first judgment. Learn more about which factors are considered by courts in Chicago, the North Shore and the surrounding suburbs on our Parental Allocation page.
Contact Our Family Law Firm in Evanston, Chicago and Lake Forest
For more information regarding the modification of any of the above issues or the process of modification of judgment in Chicago, the North Shore or the surrounding suburbs, contact Stern Perkoski Mendez. We are happy to help. Request a free consultation online or call us at (847) 868-9584.