Changing My Visitation Order

Changing My Visitation Order

Last updated: September 2011

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A visitation order granting or denying visitation to a parent can be changed at any time if the change is in the child’s best interest. You may want to ask the Court to "modify" or change an existing visitation order if:A parent's work schedule has changed and they are no longer able to make the scheduled visitation times;A parent has moved and the visitation schedule is no longer working;A parent has not followed the schedule written in the Visitation Order;A parent has chosen not to visit with the child as written in the Visitation Order; orThere is any other reason that would be in the best interests of the child.Your petition should say what has changed since the last visitation order and why a change to the visitation would be in the best interest of the child. Click on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean.What factors will the court consider when deciding to change a visitation order? The courts will decide if visitation should be changed based on the "best interests" of the child. Best interests include the following:The child's wishes- the older the child, the more weight the judge will give to the child’s wishes;The parents' wishes;The child's relationship with the parents and other close family members;The parent's ability to have a relationship with the child and the other parent in the future;The child's adjustment to home, school, and community;The mental and physical health of all involved parties;Ongoing or repeated acts of abuse against the child or another person by someone in your family or household that physically, emotionally, sexually, or economically hurts them;Threats of physical violence against the child and others; Whether one of the parents is a sex offender; andThe terms of a parent’s military family-care plan if a parent is a member of the US Armed Forces who is being deployed.I'm concerned about our child's well-being. Can I keep the other parent from seeing the child? Generally, the Court will grant reasonable visitation to the non-custodial parent unless it is shown a very good reason not to. In order to restrict or limit visitation you must show that the current visitation schedule would seriously endanger the child's physical, mental, moral, or emotional health. It is best to file your Petition to Modify Visitation to obtain a new Visitation Order before taking any steps to interfere with the current Visitation Order. You may only restrict the other parent’s court ordered visitation before returning to court if you do so in order to protect the child from imminent physical harm. Be aware that if you prevent the other parent from having visitation as written in the Visitation Order, the other parent may accuse you of unlawful visitation interference. You could be charged with a crime or faced with civil contempt of court proceedings for visitation interference. If you feel you have the necessary legal reason to prevent the other parent from visitation, you should write down your reasons for doing so as soon as possible. You should also take a picture of the other parent if their appearance makes it clear that the child needs to be protected from imminent physical harm.You may also consider seeking an Order of Protection against the other parent if he or she presents a serious risk of endangerment to your child. You would seek the Order of Protection on behalf of your child. For specific instructions, see "Filing an Order of Protection for Domestic Violence."To decide whether to grant your motion to restrict visitation, the judge may order an evaluation or/and a guardian ad litem to represent the child.If you are thinking about restricting visitation, you should contact a lawyer. Please click on the "Find Legal Help" tab for possible assistance. How do I change the visitation order? Before you go to court, talk to the other parent and try to reach an agreement if possible. If you have a Joint Custody Agreement, your Agreement should have specific instructions for how changes, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or otherwise resolvedIt is a lot easier to go into Court and request a change in a Visitation Order when both parents agree with each other. Even if you can agree, to start the process you will need to file a Petition to Modify Visitation with the Court. You can find a Petition to Modify Visitation in the "Forms/Letters" section of this Guide.What do I need to write my Petition to Modify Visitation? To start with, you will need to know the terms of your current visitation schedule. This document may be in your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage from your divorce if you have joint custody it will be in your Joint Parenting Agreement. Or, if you were not married to the other parent, a copy of your last Visitation Order in the paternity case. You will need to make three copies of your current Visitation Order and attach it to each copy of your Petition to Modify Visitation. Do I have to notify the other parent? Yes. Anytime you file a Motion or Petition with the Court you must tell the other side. You can find instructions and a Notice of Motion form to fill it out in the "Forms/Letters" section of this Guide. The Notice of Motion and a copy of the Petition to Modify Visitation along with any attached documents must be mailed to the other parent at least 7 days before the court date.You will need to bring proof that you told the other side to court with you. How do I file my Petition to Modify Visitation? You must go to the courthouse where your last Visitation Order was entered. If your last Visitation Order was part of a divorce case, go to the Domestic Relations Division in the Circuit Court of your County. If the Visitation Order was part of a paternity case, go to the Child Support Division in the Circuit Court of your County.You will have to fill out a motion slip and have the clerk help you pick a court date. The clerk will also stamp and file the original petition and then return the copies to you. Be sure to make enough copies of your petition. Determine if You Need to Change Your Visitation Order You may need to have your Visitation Order changed if there has been a change in situation and your current visitation order is not working out.Reach an Agreement with the other Parent Try to reach an agreement with the other parent outside of court. If you have a Joint Custody Agreement, follow the instructions for how changes, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or otherwise resolved;If you can't reach an agreement on your own, have ask the court assign a mediator to help youFill out the Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out the Petition to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Petition;Make 3 copies of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or if you were not married to the other parent, you last Visitation Order;Attach a copy of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or last Visitation Order to each copy of your Petition to Modify Visitation.Fill out the Notice of Motion Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out a Notice of Motion;Make 3 copies of the completed Notice of Motion form.Determine Where You Go to File Your Petition You must file your Petition to Modify Visitation at the same courthouse where your Dissolution of Marriage or your last Visitation Order was filed.Go to Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center at 50 W. Washington St. if your last Visitation Order was entered as part of your divorce case;Go to Room 200 at 28 N. Clark St. if you were not married to the other parent and the Visitation Order was part of a paternity case.File Your Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the Motions Counter and get a motion slip from the clerk;Write the name of your case, the case number, and the title of your Petition (Petition to Modify Visitation) in the spaces on the motion slip;Ask the clerk to help you pick a court date;Write in the court date, the judge's name and the courtroom information on each copy of the Notice of Motion, following the instructions for the Notice of Motion;Give the clerk your motion slip and all 4 copies of your Petition to Modify Visitation and the Notice of Motion. The clerk will file the originals and give you back stamped copies of the Petition and Notice.Give Notice to the other Parent You must do this! You cannot skip this step.When you are ready to mail the Notice of Motion to the other parent, fill out the "Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery" at the bottom of the Notice of Motion on all three copies;Staple one copy of the Notice of Motion to one copy of the Petition to Modify Visitation;Mail it to the other parent;You must mail it at least 7 days before the court date;Keep both remaining copies. The copies prove to the court that you let the other parent know about the court date;Take these copies to your court date. If you do not have them, the judge may not let you speak.Prepare an Order to Modify Visitation You should prepare this Order before your court date with the visitation schedule that you're asking for;Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to read about how to make a visitation plan;Then go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out your Order to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Order to Modify Visitation;If the judge orders something different than what you have requested, you can make those changes on the Order in pen at the court date.Go to Court Arrive at the courthouse at least 15 minutes early.If there is a sheet with cases listed on it (called “the call sheet”) posted outside the courtroom or in the courtroom, locate your case on the sheet and note the line number. Check in with the clerk by telling the clerk your line number, and tell the clerk you are there and that you are representing yourself;If the other parent is there, tell the clerk your case is ready to be called.Go before the Judge When the clerk calls your name step up in front of the judge.Introduce yourself and speak loudly and clearly;Give a copy of the Notice of Motion and the Petition to Modify Visitation to the judge;Tell the judge you want to change your current visitation schedule and ask for a status date;Write in any changes the judge has made to your Order to Modify Visitation;Take the Order to the clerk, who will file the originals and give you 2 stamped copies;Keep one copy and give the other to the other parent. If the other parent is not there, you must mail it to him or her. Never leave the courtroom without a copy of the court order.Determine if You Need to Change Your Visitation Order You may need to have your Visitation Order changed if there has been a change in situation and your current visitation order is not working out.Reach an Agreement with the other Parent Try to reach an agreement with the other parent outside of court. If you have a Joint Custody Agreement, follow the instructions for how changes, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or otherwise resolved;If you can't reach an agreement on your own, have ask the court assign a mediator to help youFill out the Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out the Petition to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Petition;Make 3 copies of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or if you were not married to the other parent, you last Visitation Order;Attach a copy of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or last Visitation Order to each copy of your Petition to Modify Visitation.Fill out the Notice of Motion Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out a Notice of Motion;Make 3 copies of the completed Notice of Motion form.Determine Where You Go to File Your Petition You must file your Petition to Modify Visitation at the same courthouse where your Dissolution of Marriage or your last Visitation Order was filed.Go to Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center at 50 W. Washington St. if your last Visitation Order was entered as part of your divorce case;Go to Room 200 at 28 N. Clark St. if you were not married to the other parent and the Visitation Order was part of a paternity case.File Your Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the Motions Counter and get a motion slip from the clerk;Write the name of your case, the case number, and the title of your Petition (Petition to Modify Visitation) in the spaces on the motion slip;Ask the clerk to help you pick a court date;Write in the court date, the judge's name and the courtroom information on each copy of the Notice of Motion, following the instructions for the Notice of Motion;Give the clerk your motion slip and all 4 copies of your Petition to Modify Visitation and the Notice of Motion. The clerk will file the originals and give you back stamped copies of the Petition and Notice.Give Notice to the other Parent You must do this! You cannot skip this step.When you are ready to mail the Notice of Motion to the other parent, fill out the "Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery" at the bottom of the Notice of Motion on all three copies;Staple one copy of the Notice of Motion to one copy of the Petition to Modify Visitation;Mail it to the other parent;You must mail it at least 7 days before the court date;Keep both remaining copies. The copies prove to the court that you let the other parent know about the court date;Take these copies to your court date. If you do not have them, the judge may not let you speak.Prepare an Order to Modify Visitation You should prepare this Order before your court date with the visitation schedule that you're asking for;Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to read about how to make a visitation plan;Then go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out your Order to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Order to Modify Visitation;If the judge orders something different than what you have requested, you can make those changes on the Order in pen at the court date.Go to Court Arrive at the courthouse at least 15 minutes early.If there is a sheet with cases listed on it (called “the call sheet”) posted outside the courtroom or in the courtroom, locate your case on the sheet and note the line number. Check in with the clerk by telling the clerk your line number, and tell the clerk you are there and that you are representing yourself;If the other parent is there, tell the clerk your case is ready to be called.Go before the Judge When the clerk calls your name step up in front of the judge.Introduce yourself and speak loudly and clearly;Give a copy of the Notice of Motion and the Petition to Modify Visitation to the judge;Tell the judge you want to change your current visitation schedule and ask for a status date;Write in any changes the judge has made to your Order to Modify Visitation;Take the Order to the clerk, who will file the originals and give you 2 stamped copies;Keep one copy and give the other to the other parent. If the other parent is not there, you must mail it to him or her. Never leave the courtroom without a copy of the court order.Determine if You Need to Change Your Visitation Order You may need to have your Visitation Order changed if there has been a change in situation and your current visitation order is not working out.Reach an Agreement with the other Parent Try to reach an agreement with the other parent outside of court. If you have a Joint Custody Agreement, follow the instructions for how changes, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or otherwise resolved;If you can't reach an agreement on your own, have ask the court assign a mediator to help youFill out the Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out the Petition to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Petition;Make 3 copies of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or if you were not married to the other parent, you last Visitation Order;Attach a copy of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or last Visitation Order to each copy of your Petition to Modify Visitation.Fill out the Notice of Motion Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out a Notice of Motion;Make 3 copies of the completed Notice of Motion form.Determine Where You Go to File Your Petition You must file your Petition to Modify Visitation at the same courthouse where your Dissolution of Marriage or your last Visitation Order was filed.Go to Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center at 50 W. Washington St. if your last Visitation Order was entered as part of your divorce case;Go to Room 200 at 28 N. Clark St. if you were not married to the other parent and the Visitation Order was part of a paternity case.File Your Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the Motions Counter and get a motion slip from the clerk;Write the name of your case, the case number, and the title of your Petition (Petition to Modify Visitation) in the spaces on the motion slip;Ask the clerk to help you pick a court date;Write in the court date, the judge's name and the courtroom information on each copy of the Notice of Motion, following the instructions for the Notice of Motion;Give the clerk your motion slip and all 4 copies of your Petition to Modify Visitation and the Notice of Motion. The clerk will file the originals and give you back stamped copies of the Petition and Notice.Give Notice to the other Parent You must do this! You cannot skip this step.When you are ready to mail the Notice of Motion to the other parent, fill out the "Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery" at the bottom of the Notice of Motion on all three copies;Staple one copy of the Notice of Motion to one copy of the Petition to Modify Visitation;Mail it to the other parent;You must mail it at least 7 days before the court date;Keep both remaining copies. The copies prove to the court that you let the other parent know about the court date;Take these copies to your court date. If you do not have them, the judge may not let you speak.Prepare an Order to Modify Visitation You should prepare this Order before your court date with the visitation schedule that you're asking for;Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to read about how to make a visitation plan;Then go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out your Order to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Order to Modify Visitation;If the judge orders something different than what you have requested, you can make those changes on the Order in pen at the court date.Go to Court Arrive at the courthouse at least 15 minutes early.If there is a sheet with cases listed on it (called “the call sheet”) posted outside the courtroom or in the courtroom, locate your case on the sheet and note the line number. Check in with the clerk by telling the clerk your line number, and tell the clerk you are there and that you are representing yourself;If the other parent is there, tell the clerk your case is ready to be called.Go before the Judge When the clerk calls your name step up in front of the judge.Introduce yourself and speak loudly and clearly;Give a copy of the Notice of Motion and the Petition to Modify Visitation to the judge;Tell the judge you want to change your current visitation schedule and ask for a status date;Write in any changes the judge has made to your Order to Modify Visitation;Take the Order to the clerk, who will file the originals and give you 2 stamped copies;Keep one copy and give the other to the other parent. If the other parent is not there, you must mail it to him or her. Never leave the courtroom without a copy of the court order.Determine if You Need to Change Your Visitation Order You may need to have your Visitation Order changed if there has been a change in situation and your current visitation order is not working out.Reach an Agreement with the other Parent Try to reach an agreement with the other parent outside of court. If you have a Joint Custody Agreement, follow the instructions for how changes, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or otherwise resolved;If you can't reach an agreement on your own, have ask the court assign a mediator to help youFill out the Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out the Petition to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Petition;Make 3 copies of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or if you were not married to the other parent, you last Visitation Order;Attach a copy of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or last Visitation Order to each copy of your Petition to Modify Visitation.Fill out the Notice of Motion Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out a Notice of Motion;Make 3 copies of the completed Notice of Motion form.Determine Where You Go to File Your Petition You must file your Petition to Modify Visitation at the same courthouse where your Dissolution of Marriage or your last Visitation Order was filed.Go to Room 802 of the Richard J. Daley Center at 50 W. Washington St. if your last Visitation Order was entered as part of your divorce case;Go to Room 200 at 28 N. Clark St. if you were not married to the other parent and the Visitation Order was part of a paternity case.Give Notice to the other Parent You must do this! You cannot skip this step.When you are ready to mail the Notice of Motion to the other parent, fill out the "Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery" at the bottom of the Notice of Motion on all three copies;Staple one copy of the Notice of Motion to one copy of the Petition to Modify Visitation;Mail it to the other parent;You must mail it at least 7 days before the court date;Keep both remaining copies. The copies prove to the court that you let the other parent know about the court date;Take these copies to your court date. If you do not have them, the judge may not let you speak.File Your Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the Motions Counter and get a motion slip from the clerk;Write the name of your case, the case number, and the title of your Petition (Petition to Modify Visitation) in the spaces on the motion slip;Ask the clerk to help you pick a court date;Write in the court date, the judge's name and the courtroom information on each copy of the Notice of Motion, following the instructions for the Notice of Motion;Give the clerk your motion slip and all 4 copies of your Petition to Modify Visitation and the Notice of Motion. The clerk will file the originals and give you back stamped copies of the Petition and Notice.Prepare an Order to Modify Visitation You should prepare this Order before your court date with the visitation schedule that you're asking for;Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to read about how to make a visitation plan;Then go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out your Order to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Order to Modify Visitation;If the judge orders something different than what you have requested, you can make those changes on the Order in pen at the court date.Go to Court Arrive at the courthouse at least 15 minutes early.If there is a sheet with cases listed on it (called “the call sheet”) posted outside the courtroom or in the courtroom, locate your case on the sheet and note the line number. Check in with the clerk by telling the clerk your line number, and tell the clerk you are there and that you are representing yourself;If the other parent is there, tell the clerk your case is ready to be called.Go Before the Judge When the clerk calls your name step up in front of the judge.Introduce yourself and speak loudly and clearly;Give a copy of the Notice of Motion and the Petition to Modify Visitation to the judge;Tell the judge you want to change your current visitation schedule and ask for a status date;Write in any changes the judge has made to your Order to Modify Visitation;Take the Order to the clerk, who will file the originals and give you 2 stamped copies;Keep one copy and give the other to the other parent. If the other parent is not there, you must mail it to him or her. Never leave the courtroom without a copy of the court order.Determine if You Need to Change Your Visitation Order You may need to have your Visitation Order changed if there has been a change in situation and your current visitation order is not working out.Reach an Agreement with the other Parent Try to reach an agreement with the other parent outside of court. If you have a Joint Custody Agreement, follow the instructions for how changes, disputes and alleged breaches may be mediated or otherwise resolved;If you can't reach an agreement on your own, have ask the court assign a mediator to help youFill out the Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out the Petition to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Petition;Make 3 copies of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or if you were not married to the other parent, you last Visitation Order;Attach a copy of your Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, or Joint Parenting Agreement, or last Visitation Order to each copy of your Petition to Modify Visitation.Fill out the Notice of Motion Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out a Notice of Motion;Make 3 copies of the completed Notice of Motion form.Determine Where You Go to File Your Petition You must file your Petition to Modify Visitation at the same courthouse where your Dissolution of Marriage or where your last Visitation Order was filed. File Your Petition to Modify Visitation Go to the Motions Counter and get a motion slip from the clerk;Write the name of your case, the case number, and the title of your Petition (Petition to Modify Visitation) in the spaces on the motion slip;Ask the clerk to help you pick a court date;Write in the court date, the judge's name and the courtroom information on each copy of the Notice of Motion, following the instructions for the Notice of Motion;Give the clerk your motion slip and all 4 copies of your Petition to Modify Visitation and the Notice of Motion. The clerk will file the originals and give you back stamped copies of the Petition and Notice.Give Notice to the other Parent You must do this! You cannot skip this step.When you are ready to mail the Notice of Motion to the other parent, fill out the "Certificate and Affidavit of Delivery" at the bottom of the Notice of Motion on all three copies;Staple one copy of the Notice of Motion to one copy of the Petition to Modify Visitation;Mail it to the other parent;You must mail it at least 7 days before the court date;Keep both remaining copies. The copies prove to the court that you let the other parent know about the court date;Take these copies to your court date. If you do not have them, the judge may not let you speak.Prepare an Order to Modify Visitation You should prepare this Order before your court date with the visitation schedule that you're asking for;Go to the "Related Articles" section of this guide to read about how to make a visitation plan;Then go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out your Order to Modify Visitation;Make 3 copies of the completed Order to Modify Visitation;If the judge orders something different than what you have requested, you can make those changes on the Order in pen at the court date.Go to Court Arrive at the courthouse at least 15 minutes early.If there is a sheet with cases listed on it (called “the call sheet”) posted outside the courtroom or in the courtroom, locate your case on the sheet and note the line number. Check in with the clerk by telling the clerk your line number, and tell the clerk you are there and that you are representing yourself;If the other parent is there, tell the clerk your case is ready to be called.Go before the Judge When the clerk calls your name step up in front of the judge.Introduce yourself and speak loudly and clearly;Give a copy of the Notice of Motion and the Petition to Modify Visitation to the judge;Tell the judge you want to change your current visitation schedule and ask for a status date;Write in any changes the judge has made to your Order to Modify Visitation;Take the Order to the clerk, who will file the originals and give you 2 stamped copies;Keep one copy and give the other to the other parent. If the other parent is not there, you must mail it to him or her. Never leave the courtroom without a copy of the court order.

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