Child Custody Modification in Illinois


Child custody arrangements can be a source of contention for parents, but they are essential for the well-being of the child. Custody orders are enforceable, but they are not static and can be modified if necessary. The Law Firm of Erin N Birt PC (Birt Law) specializes in guiding parents through the process of modifying child custody orders in Illinois.

Our Approach (Mediation):

At Birt Law, we believe in facilitating agreements between co-parents whenever possible. We offer mediation services to help parents reach mutually acceptable modifications to their custody arrangements. Our goal is to ensure that any modifications are legally sound and in the best interests of the child.

Services Offered:

  • Mediation for co-parents to reach agreements on custody modifications.
  • Drafting legal documents to formalize agreed-upon modifications.
  • Guidance on navigating the legal requirements for modifying custody orders.


 What constitutes a substantial change in circumstances for modifying custody?

Because child custody revolves around the best interests of the child, getting a modification to a custody order means showing that the current order is so unworkable that it is no longer in the child's best interests. Thus, modification is necessary. 

Some circumstances that can support a modification include:

  • Abuse or neglect
  • Health condition
  • Substance abuse
  • Loss of a job
  • Reduction in pay/salary

Some circumstances that typically won't support a modification on their own include:

  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Birth of another child

To change visitation, you may not have to prove a substantial change in circumstances, but you will have to show the modification is also in the child's best interest.

Can I modify custody if the other parent is unfit? What if my child wants to live with me instead?

There are times when a parent may want to modify a child custody order but not for a substantial change in circumstances. Situations where this might be approved by the courts include:

  • The child is of a certain age and can say where they want to live.
  • The non-custodial parent can prove that they have been rehabilitated, i.e., the non-custodial parent may have had a substance abuse problem and had only visitation rights but is now recovering and capable of custody.
  • What's considered de jure custody is not the same as de facto custody, e.g., one parent is the primary custodian but the child stays with the non-custodial parent more and, as such, the non-custodial parent wants to change the custody order to reflect reality.
  • One parent can prove the other parent is unfit, i.e., this often involves abuse and neglect but can also include things like the parent's mental health or overall bad behavior that can detrimentally impact the child's wellbeing.
  • One parent can show that the child is having serious problems at the home of the custodial parent and that the latter cannot be remedied easily, e.g., maybe there are concerns with a step-parent or step-siblings that cause great harm to the child.

Is mediation mandatory for custody modifications in Illinois?

Yes, if there is neither an impairment to mediation nor an emergency that prevents mediation.

How long does the modification process typically take?

It can take several weeks or months based on the circumstances of the case and the willingness of the parties to actively participate and find a beneficial compromise.

Fees for Services:

Our fees for child custody modification services are structured based on the complexity of the case and the services required. We offer transparent pricing and can provide a detailed breakdown during your consultation.

Getting Started:

To begin the process of modifying a child custody order, contact us online or at (630) 891-2478 to schedule a free 15-minute introductory telephone call. Our team will assess your situation, discuss your options, and guide you through the next steps to ensure the best outcome for you and your child.

Recent Case Results

  • In a challenging divorce, Attorney Erin Birt resolved parenting conflicts for the best interests of a teen daughter. Mother Sarah was concerned about father John's disinterest, while John felt Sarah was controlling. Erin, serving as GAL (Guardian ad Litem), utilized mediation skills and investigation protocols to prioritize the teen's well-being, prevent litigation, and repair co-parenting harmony. Read On

  • Successfully resolved custody dispute for a child with a first responder father and full time working mother, prioritizing child's well-being and fostering co-parenting harmony. Read On

  • In the face of financial turmoil due to her husband's gambling addiction, a young mother sought to relocate with her children for family support. With strategic negotiation, a divorce attorney secured their move while preserving father-child bonds, all while keeping costs low and achieving client satisfaction. Read On


  • Client Feedback: Satisfied with Birt Family Law Services

    Was I satisfied with the services of Birt Family Law? Yes. Questions I had were almost always answered within a day or two. I valued getting clarification/outlining how procedures are expected to unfold, and the expected timeframes. While I wish proceedings would've gone quickly, I know the wheel... Read On

  • Very Likely to Recommend to Others!

    Erin was very supportive, and I felt that she really took my emotions into consideration throughout the whole process. Read On

  • Satisfied and Likely to Recommend!

    The services I received through Birt Family Law were Divorce – Financial Only. I was satisfied with the services and I am very likely to recommend Birt Family Law to others.  Read On

Recent Posts

Family Centered Divorce ∙ Mediation ∙ Co-Parenting

Birt Family Law is the family centered law and mediation practice with a focus on Restorative Divorce; offering creative and supportive legal and mediation solutions with one goal: keeping the separating family out of court and working together towards a positive resolution.

We offer multiple options to achieve this goal including mediation, coaching, co-parenting strategies, and restorative divorce services. 

Are we the right fit for you?

Birt Family Law is committed to keeping the separating family out of court and working together towards a positive resolution.