New Year Brings New Divorce Laws in Illinois
Glen Ellyn Divorce Lawyers
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act (“Act”) is undergoing a significant transformation in the new year. With changes affecting the timeline for entry of an Allocation of Parental Responsibility, the grounds for divorce, and the division of decision making abilities are a few of the biggest changes to the Act since 1977. Understanding how these alterations may affect your divorce is critical in ensuring that your divorce process is as quick and amicable as possible.
Contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney if you want a head start on understanding the new laws and how they may impact your unique family situation.
Specific Grounds for Divorce Eliminated
Previously, in order to successfully file for divorce, there needed to be a demonstration that there was a reason for the divorce. These grounds included, but were not limited to irreconcilable differences, abandonment, mental cruelty, and drunkenness.. Now, irreconcilable differences is the only valid grounds for divorce, making Illinois a “no-fault” divorce jurisdiction.
Two things need to be proven to a judge under the new law for a divorce to be granted:
- That “irreconcilable differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage”; and
- That past attempts to reconcile have been futile and future attempts “would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.”
Prior to the enactment of the new law, for the grounds of irreconcilable differences the parties had to be living separate and apart for a period in excess of 2 years or sign a waiver reducing that two year waiting period to a period of 6 months. Under the new law, living separate continuously for at least a six month period prior to the entry of the Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage creates an irrebuttable presumption that there are irreconcilable differences between the parties.
It is important to demonstrate that the parties have attempted to reconcile, but those attempts have prove to be fruitless. It is advised that you obtain experienced legal counsel to sufficiently demonstrate to a judge that the marriage is beyond repair and that the divorce should be granted.
Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
Terminology such as “custody” and “visitation” has been eradicated in the new version of the Act, and replaced with the concept of an “allocation of parental responsibilities.” The plan will specifically allocate the responsibilities of each parent post-divorce with respect to a child’s residence, education, vacation, health, religion, and extra-curricular activities. If the parents can agree upon a plan that the court approves of, the court intervention for this plan will be limited. Otherwise, the court will allocate significant decision-making responsibilities to one or both parents. To make this determination, the court will consider a host of factors that are laid out in the Act including the best interest of the child, the needs of the parties, the child’s desires depending on their maturity, any special educational, physical, or financial limitations, the ability of each parent to care for the child, and anything else the court deems relevant in advocating for the best interest of the child.
Additional Guidance for Relocation of Parents Post-Divorce
Currently, an Illinois parent with residential (physical) custody of the marital child may move with the child without the need of court permission, so long as the move is within the distance specified in the Act. Under this model, a parent could theoretically move a child across the state, but not just outside of their Illinois city if it happened to fall in one of the several bordering Illinois states without court intervention.
Under the new law, parents living in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will County will have to provide written notice to the other parent or petition the court when necessary for a move more than 25 miles from the current domicile. The standard for other counties not previously listed is 50 miles from the current domicile. If the other parent does not oppose the move, then the child may move with the relocating parent. Otherwise, if the non-relocating parents opposes, a court order must be granted approving the move. The Court will then considers many factors to determine whether relocation is in the best interest of the child.
Illinois Divorce Attorneys
The new Illinois divorce laws have gone into effect as of January 1, 2016, and it is important to consult with a DuPage County family law attorney before jumping into divorce proceedings in the new year. These changes may alter the appropriate approach for your divorce. The ultimate objective is to come to the most amicable resolution possible, while considering the best interest of the family with a limited e amount of time spent in court arguing over the divorce settlement. Working with our team of attorneys at Mulyk, Laho & Mack, LLC. will ensure that you have someone working to protect your legal rights and that your divorce is finalized in the way best suited for your needs and desires. Regardless of whether you are divorcing with significant assets, children, or previously entered contractual agreements (prenuptials and antenuptials), we have the strategies necessary to effectively litigate your divorce case from start to finish. Contact our Glen Ellyn law firm today at (630) 852-1100.