Illinois lawmakers propose major new divorce law

On behalf of Law Offices of KML Associates, Attorneys at Law, Karen M. Lavin, Attorney at Law

When lawmakers in Illinois lawmakers propose a bill that would have a big effect on certain married couples, it is important that those couples not only understand how they could be affected but also how they can voice their opinions about those changes. Changes to Illinois divorce law will not only affect those seeking to dissolve their marriage but could also impact the steps couples take before they get married.

A proposed Illinois bill is a product of four years of hearings by the bipartisan Family Law Study Committee and would result in numerous changes to the current laws. For example, it would abolish the need to establish grounds for a divorce and require divorce judgments to typically be issued within 60 days. It would prevent “home-wrecking” lawsuits, which historically went after the ex-spouse’s lover or new fiancé for causing the marriage to collapse.

The proposal did not just seek to update Illinois divorce law. It also aims to reform child custody as well. For instance, it would set child support by looking at income of each parent as well as the amount of time each parent spent with the child. It would also permit that children spend at least 35 percent of their time with each parent, although this is not mandated. This provision would enable children, for example, to take long weekends with the non-custodial parent. And, finally, the bill would grant non-custodial parents unique decision-making rights.

While this bill seeks approval, people getting divorced in Illinois can do several things to make their divorce easier, with or without the new bill. For example, while it may be hard, being reasonable and cooperative with the soon-to-be-ex could help facilitate the divorce and reduce the chances of disputes and complex issues. Reasonable compromise produces better results almost every time. Although it might be tempting to hide assets, it is important to disclose all assets and property.

Being honest and upfront in the divorce process is crucial. Creating problems will only lead to more disputes and could lengthen the divorce process.

Source: CBS Local, “Illinois House Considers Changes to Divorce Laws,” April 15, 2013

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Illinois lawmakers propose major new divorce law