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Big Changes Ahead for Illinois Family Law in 2016

Naperville Divorce Lawyer

Naperville family law attorneysThe Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is getting a major overhaul to bring it into the 21st century. No law is timeless – as our societal attitudes progress and evolve to match changing technology and new political and cultural landscapes, our laws need to adjust to remain relevant and appropriate. The family-related changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act deal with the reality that, today, parents often practice more collaborative parenting, rather than delegating tasks to one parent or the other. Other changes to the law include updated grounds for divorce, changed rules regarding property division, and new rules regarding parental relocation with a child. These changes are fairly extensive and may require a thorough read-through to understand completely. For help working through any unfamiliar language and concepts contained within, contact an experienced Naperville family attorney.

Changes to Terminology

One of the most significant changes included in the amendment to the Act is the updated language. Terms like "custody" and "visitation" will be replaced with the terms "parental responsibilities" and "parenting time" to reflect on how families tend to divide parental duties today.

New Ways to Approach Parenting After Divorce

As discussed above, the court will now approach how it awards parental duties to divorcing individuals differently. Instead of awarding large blocks of a child's care, like legal decisions and primary residence, to each parent, it will award more specific areas of the child's care. For example, the court may give one parent the right to determine the child's religious upbringing and the other the right to make medical decisions on the child's behalf. It is possible for parents to share one or more of these responsibilities.

Parents in certain counties will only be permitted to relocate up to 25 miles without court approval while those in others will be able to relocate up to 50 miles. This includes relocation out of state, replacing the current law that requires parents to receive approval to move out of Illinois, but not to move anywhere within the state.

Despite this new approach to parenting after divorce, the child's best interests will remain the most important factor used to determine the right parenting plan. The court will retain the right to make and alter parenting plans to avoid any chance of the child facing harm.

No More Grounds for Divorce

Previously, couples in Illinois had the option to state their grounds, or reasons, for divorce when filing. Examples of grounds for divorce included adultery, abandonment, cruelty, and incarceration.

They also had the option to state "irreconcilable differences" as their ground for divorce, also known as seeking a no-fault divorce. Now, all divorces will be considered to be no-fault divorces.

Eliminating grounds for divorce also eliminates the waiting period for divorcing couples. In the past, couples who sought no-fault divorces were required to prove that they had lived separate and apart for at least six months, or two years if one spouse does not agree to the divorce. Now, a couple can seek a divorce as soon as they feel they are ready to end their marriage.

Changes to Property Division

Under the changes to Illinois' divorce law, the court will now be required to provide explanations for all of its decisions regarding a divorcing couple's property. It will also eliminate the right of the court to make decisions based on "heart balm" issues, such as adultery and "alienation of affection." This means that the state of a divorcing couple's relationship may not have any bearing on their property division order.

Family Attorneys in DuPage County

These changes will affect all individuals and families who divorce or have to handle other family-related legal issues in Illinois courts in 2016 and beyond. Educate yourself before these changes take effect so you are prepared for them and how they will affect your family. Contact our team of experienced DuPage County family attorneys at 630-352-2240 today to schedule your free legal consultation with a member of our firm to discuss these changes and what they may mean specifically for you and your family's current child custody and support orders. Do not wait to begin working with our team at Pesce Law Group, P.C.

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