In this article, we explain how to change custody and parenting time in Illinois. We answer the questions: when can you request a change in parenting time in Illinois?, and what happens in a change of custody proceeding in Illinois?
Many people still use the term “child custody,” but Illinois courts no longer use this term. Instead Illinois courts refer to “parenting time and responsibility.” For the purposes of simplicity, this article will use the terms “custody” and “parenting time” interchangeably.
For a general overview of the law regarding parenting time and responsibility in Illinois, check out: Illinois Parenting Laws Explained.
Illinois courts disfavor the modification of parenting orders, as they prefer to provide stability to the child. The standard for whether a court will grant a request for a change in custody depends on whether more than two years have passed since the last parenting order was entered.
If more than two years have passed since the last parenting order was entered, the party seeking modification must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances with respect to the child or either parent, and that modification of the parenting order is in the best interests of the child. Courts will not inquire into the best interests of the child unless the moving party can show that there has actually been a substantial change in circumstances since the last order was entered.
If less than two years have passed since the last parenting order was entered, it is more difficult to change custody. In this situation, the moving party is required to show that the current parenting situation may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, emotional, or moral health.
In order to request a modification of your parenting order, you must file a motion to modify parenting time in the county in which the last custody order was entered. Along with the motion to modify parenting time, you must file:
You must properly serve the notice of motion upon the other party along with a file-stamped copy of the motion and affidavit.
Once the change of custody proceeding has been initiated by the movant filing a motion to modify parenting time, the following steps will generally occur: