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Family Law Overhaul

Palatine Family Law Attorney Discusses Upcoming Changes to Illinois Law

Illinois family law is undergoing some major changes. Gov. Bruce Rauner recently signed a bill into law that overhauls the laws concerning the grounds for divorce, the child custody system, parental relocation, and more. The new law will take effect on January 1, 2016.

Fault Divorce

When Senate Bill 57 takes effect, Illinois will no longer recognize fault divorce. Currently, in Illinois, a spouse can get a divorce based on cruelty, adultery, impotence, drunkenness, etc. In order to divorce based on irreconcilable differences, the spouses must live separate and apart for at least two years, unless they can agree to a period of six months.

With the new law, as long as a party can show they have been separated for at least six months they can divorce under irreconcible differences and the two year waiting period has been abolished. When the spouses have lived separate and apart for at least the six months, this creates an irrefutable presumption that irreconcilable differences exist.

Parenting Time

Another major change in the new law is the elimination of the concept of custody. Instead of granting custody, courts will allocate parental responsibility to each parent. Each parent will have charge of a specific area of the child’s care, such as education, healthcare, and religion. In making its determination, courts will consider each parent’s capabilities, the child’s best interests, and the individual circumstances of each situation. Parents may have joint parental responsibility or sole parental responsibility.

Parental Relocation

The bill also makes changes regarding the requirement for court approval when custodial parents move. Current law requires that custodial parents obtain court approval before moving across state lines. But they may move anywhere within Illinois without approval, even if the new residence is several hundred miles away.

Under the new law, parents with the primary residence of the children can move up to 25 miles without seeking court approval, even if the move is across state lines. This limit applies to residents of Cook County and the five counties surrounding it—DuPage, Kane, Lake, Henry, and Will. Parents living outside of those six counties may move up to 50 miles without the court’s permission.

Other Changes

The bill makes many other alterations to Illinois family law. One provision eliminates heart balm suits such as: breach of promise to marry, or alienation of affection. The maintenance law changes that took effect on January 1, 2015 remain in effect and the new law requires the payee spouse to give notice of any plans to remarry. The courts have new factors to consider when determining if a party needs maintenance. The new law defines all debts and financial obligations of the parties during a marriage as marital debt. There are changes to property acquired in contemplation of marriage and changes to the valuation of marital property.

The changes in the new family law statute are numerous and complex. When considering divorce you need to know your rights and the effect of the new laws. Call a Palatine family law attorney at SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC for a free consultation.

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