Modifying an Allocation Judgment

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-divorce-papers-image25772703Under the new law, an allocation judgment (formerly known as a custody judgment) may be modified without showing a substantial change in circumstances, as previously required.  The caveat being that the two (2) year waiting period post-entry is still in effect, unless 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.  After two (2) years, and pursuant to 750 ILCS 5/610.5(e), the court may now 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.

Additionally, the parties should be aware that under 750 ILCS 5/610.5(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.

 

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