The parties divorced. Father’s visitation time included parenting time with the parties’ minor child. She was 4 years old at the time.  The parenting time was for every other Tuesday evening and every other Wednesday evening through Friday morning.

Six years later, father filed a motion to modify the parenting time to every Wednesday and Thursday instead of every other Tuesday.  Mother filed a Motion to Dismiss. The law had been revised in January 2016. The law used to require that this father had to prove that a substantial change of circumstances has to have taken place. Something new has to have happened since the last order was signed by the Judge.

The revised law now states that you do not need to show changed circumstances if you can show two things. 1) the modification is in the child’s best interests. 2) the modification is a minor modification to the parenting plan. Father’s request would change the parenting plan significantly. From one parent serving as the primary custodial parent to both parents having equal parenting time.

The court granted mother’s motion to dismiss. It said that father’s request was not a “minor modification”.  It would be a major change.

Father did not have specific facts to support his motion.  Instead, he only stated his conclusions that he wanted the court to accept. The court was free to accept or reject his statements. The court rejected them.

Father needed to show a substantial change in circumstances. Otherwise, the parenting plan cannot be modified in a major way. The reason for this is that the court wants to keep things as they are in parenting plans.  Unless there is a substantial change in circumstances to support a change of the plan.

In re Marriage of O’Hare, 2017 IL App (4th) 170091, May 9, 2017.

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