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Illinois lawmakers consider overhaul of divorce laws

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Illinois lawmakers consider overhaul of divorce laws

Illinois lawmakers consider overhaul of divorce laws

The Illinois legislature is considering a bill to overhaul the state’s divorce laws. The new House bill follows four years of work by the bipartisan Family Law Study Committee, which has asked child advocates, the public, judges and other family law authorities for advice in how to improve the state’s 35-year-old divorce laws.

Some of the proposed changes include significant changes to child support and child custody matters, speeding up divorce judgments and eliminating “grounds” for divorce.

Traditionally under Illinois law, a spouse has to justify a request for divorce on grounds of adultery, abandonment or some other wrongdoing. For years now, however, most divorces in Illinois have been “no fault,” meaning that it was unnecessary for either side to accuse the other of wrongdoing. However, the laws providing for grounds have remained on the books. The proposed changes would put an end to grounds, and also eliminate so-called home-wrecking lawsuits against a spouse’s new lover or fiancé(e).

The proposal would also change child support formulas to be based on both parents’ income, not just the paying parent’s, and would take into consideration the amount of time that each parent spends with the child. Furthermore, the proposal would award some new decision-making rights for non-custodial parents and increase the amount of time a non-custodial parent is entitled to spend with the child. Proponents say this would allow non-custodial parents to spend an entire long weekend with a child without overextending their allowable parenting time.

Illinois family law can be difficult to understand and it can be hard for those going through a divorce, child custody dispute or other family law matter to navigate the system. Chicago residents who are experiencing difficulties with these issues will want to keep track of the proposed changes, and get help standing up for the interests of themselves and their children.

Source: CBS St. Louis, “Illinois House Considers Changes To Divorce Laws,” April 15, 2013

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