Modifying your divorce agreement

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2018 | Firm News

Since your divorce, you have probably had a lot of life changes. You may have moved, changed jobs, found a new partner, or any one of a number of things which could impact your relationship with your children.

There have also been some important changes to Illinois law regarding child support guidelines. While it is not something to enter into lightly, there are a lot of good reasons why you may need to seek a modification to your divorce agreement. The process is similar to the way the existing one was crafted, so you will need to have a family law attorney help you navigate the changes you need.

What the court looks for

In general, the court is going to look for a significant change to the agreement before it will consider it. The standard that it will use is “the best interest of the child,” the same as when the prior agreement was reached. No matter how much your life has changed and you might want a new arrangement, you have to think about the child first.

It’s also important to work out proposed changes with your ex-spouse in advance, if possible. Now that the emotions have settled down this may be easier than before. They may also have some changes that they were considering, and it is always for the best to work these through mediation. The court is much more likely to accept a mutually agreed new plan than a more contentious one.

New law in Illinois

Effective in July 2017, the state of Illinois changed the child support guidelines. It is now based on an “income share” model. That means that the total income between both parents is considered along with the time that they spend with the child and the expenses realized.

The calculations may favor a significant change in child support. This alone is a common reason for a new divorce agreement. If you have very high support payments you may want to work through the calculations based on the new law to determine if it is to your advantage to seek a new agreement.

Where you stand

No matter what, the process will require an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the process. It is the same as the original process in that respect as well.

No matter what your change in situation, it is helpful to review your agreement periodically and make sure it is working for you. If you have not done it for many years, this alone is a good reason for an initial consultation with an attorney.