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Changes to the Illinois Divorce Laws

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Changes to the Illinois Divorce Laws

Changes to the Illinois Divorce Laws

If you are considering a divorce in the upcoming New Year, it is important to understand new changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which will go into effect on January 1, 2016. The law was initially implemented in the 1970s and received substantial changes in the 1990s. However, the new changes are the first modifications in more than 10 years.

Your Grounds for Illinois Divorce

If you file for divorce under the current law, you can choose from a variety of grounds, including:

  • Adultery;
  • At least one year of continuous abandonment;
  • Spouse impotency;
  • Spousal bigamy;
  • Severe mental or physical abuse;
  • Felony conviction;
  • An attempt to murder a spouse;
  • The infection of a spouse with a sexually transmitted disease; and
  • Irreconcilable differences with a two year continuous separation.

With these various grounds, the spouse filing for divorce must be “innocent” and has the burden of proving that the other spouse committed the alleged action. This type of divorce proceeding forces the spouses to take an adversarial stance against one another and leads to increased animosity not only among the spouses, but within the family as a whole.

The changes to the IMDMA remove the various grounds for divorce and replace them with a single ground possibility of irreconcilable differences. As long as the length of separation requirement is met, there is no requirement to prove the wrongdoing of the other spouse, which alleviates the need for a hearing and precious time in court.

Reduced Separation Time

Under the new regulations, couples no longer have to endure 24 months of separation. Nor is there a requirement that the couples mutually agree to reduce the separation time to six months in order to get around the 24 month requirement. The separation period is now six months under changes to the law.

Marital Property Determination and Asset Valuation

New changes to the divorce law affect the time period for determining when property is marital or separate. Currently, all newly obtained property is considered marital up until the day the divorce decree is executed. When the changes go into effect, the marital classification will end when he divorce petition is filed. This means that property obtained between the filing of the complaint and the finalization of the divorce decree may be classified as separately-held property.

Additionally, the valuation of property will be guided by the fair market value, as determined at the time of a mutually agreed upon date or the date of the divorce hearing.

Availability of the Illinois Low-Cost joint Divorce

Only couples with a combined income of $30,000 or less could previously utilize the Illinois low-cost divorce option. When the new changes take effect, the option will be available to couples who make $60,000 or less per year.

Work with an Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorney

If you are considering a divorce in 2016, contact the SAM LAW OFFICE for guidance regarding new changes to the laws from an experienced divorce lawyer.

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