Mother was awarded custody of the child in the divorce judgment. Three years later, father filed a motion to modify custody. He alleged it was in child’s best interest to be placed in his custody. The court denied his motion. He filed a Motion to Reconsider.

He argued that the trial court applied an incorrect legal standard in denying his motion to modify custody. Specifically, father contended that the court improperly required him to prove that mother’s acts and conduct harmed the child’s welfare.

The trial court granted his Motion to Reconsider. The court concluded that its original ruling had been wrong. That burden wrongly placed an additional burden on father. He would have had to show that the welfare of the child was adversely affected or harmed by the acts and conduct of mother. Instead it should have considered the factors for the best interest of the child for modification. Thereafter, the court transferred custody of the child to Father. Mother appealed.

The Appellate Court agreed with the Trial Court. Mother’s actions had not yet resulted in actual harm to the child. Mother had developed serious mental health issues. This caused her to experience psychotic episodes. There was an incident during which mother drove to the hospital. She then left the child alone in her car with “invisible people.” Mother’s subsequent marriage was arguably troubled and sometimes violent. She had a history of dishonesty toward father in matters affecting the child.

IRMO Rogers, 2015 IL App (4th) 140765

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