New Illinois Family Laws (2016)

Understanding Changes To Illinois Family Law

The landscape of family law is constantly evolving in Illinois and throughout the country. These changes tend to be gradual, but in 2018, an overhaul of Illinois’ longstanding Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect — changing how the state governs divorce, child custody and visitation, child support, alimony and property division.

IMDMA had remained largely untouched since it first went into effect in 1977. Many people were familiar with some facets of the law and are trying to make sense of how the new Illinois family laws will affect their cases.

At the Weller Law Firm in Belleville, Illinois, we can help you assess your options and formulate a solid plan of action to accomplish your goals in light of the new legislation. Call 618-207-4467 today to schedule a free legal consultation.

The following information may help answer some of your questions about the changes to family law in Illinois; however, it is wise to speak to an attorney about your specific case before making decisions about how to move forward.

Family Law Issues Involving Children

  • Child custody and visitation terminology: The terms child custody and visitation are a thing of the past. Illinois now refers to the allocation of parental decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. Parental decision-making responsibilities, formerly known as legal custody, may include anything from religion to education to extracurricular activities and these responsibilities may be broken up between the two parents. Parenting time is determined using 15 factors weighed by the courts in an effort to serve the child’s best interests.
  • Relocation: Custodial parents used to move freely anywhere within the state without court approval, whereas moving across state lines required court approval. A far more complex law went into effect in 2018, and you now face county-specific relocation requirements. To move your child more than 50 miles from your current residence or 25 miles outside of Illinois and from your current residence, you need the court’s permission.  Contact an experienced lawyer at the Weller Law Firm as soon as possible if you or your child’s other parent plan to relocate with a child.

Property Division During Divorce

  • Nonmarital vs. marital assets: To divide your assets, first you must determine which items are part of the marital estate and which are your own nonmarital property.
  • Property valuation: Fluctuating and subjective values of real estate, as well as other assets, can make it difficult to determine whether a proposed division of property is equitable. Beginning in 2018, real estate and other assets are evaluated using the fair market value standard as of the date of trial or when the parties agree.

Grounds For Divorce And Waiting Period

  • Elimination of fault-based divorce: Previously, you could seek divorce on the basis of bigamy, impotency, adultery, conviction of a felony, abandonment, emotional or physical cruelty, and other grounds. However, as of late, the vast majority of divorces cited only irreconcilable differences. The law now no longer accounts for fault-based divorce.
  • Elimination of waiting period: Under the previous version of the law, you had to live separate and apart from your spouse for two years or more, or sign a waiver to agree to reduce the waiting period to six months. The waiver requirement has been lifted.

Call Today To Arrange Your Free Consultation

To discuss your legal needs with our founding lawyer, Stan Weller, send us an email, or call 618-207-4467 or toll free 888-446-6538. Mr. Weller has almost two decades of experience practicing family law in Illinois, and he is well-prepared to help you understand your options. Your initial legal consultation is free of any charge and obligation.

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