Major reform in the works for divorce and custody laws in Illinois

 

The Illinois Family Law Study Committee has been working on some major revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.  The intent is to modernize the the rights and procedures involved in divorce and custody cases.  A few of the changes:

No more grounds for divorce

Illinois is a ground’s state where the Petitioner must plead grounds to obtain a divorce.  The most common ground seen in divorce filings is repeated mental and/or physical cruelty and irreconcilable differences.

Final judgments within 90 days

All judgments of divorce are to be be issued within 60 days of the trial with one 30 day extension if the court files a statement of reasons for the delay.  Currently, a judgment can be entered even a year after the trial ends.  Leaving matters in limbo and problems with support and maintenance.

Shared-income approach for child support

A change the factors used to calculate child-support.  Under the current  law, courts calculate child support payments based on the non-custodial parents income.  There is currently no consideration given to how much time the non-custodial parent spends with the children or the income of the custodial parent.  Both parent have a duty to support and this change will be able to more effectively institute that requirement.

Reallocation of parental time and responsibilities

Illinois recognizes sole custody and joint custody to determine who makes decisions for the children.  The Committee has suggested a third form which would be joint and sole custody which would be a mixture of both in that the parties could share joint custody and determine which parent makes sole decisions on specific issues.

It is also suggested by the committee that children should spend at least 35% of their time with their mother and 35% of their time with their father.

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