New and Improved Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to take effect January 1, 2016

Governor Rauner signed SB 57 this year which was a major overhaul of Illinois Divorce Law. The current divorce statute (called the IMDMA) was enacted in 1977. Much has changed in society and family dynamics since then. This legislation was in the works for several years. Just like any other major statue, it was changed and reworked many times at the request of interest groups and certain legislators. The end product is not perfect, but I believe many of the changes are for the better. Here are a few of the major changes. More detailed posts will come down the line about specific provisions of the new law.

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE: There will only be one ground and it will be irreconcilable differences. Mental cruelty, infidelity, abandonment, habitual drunkenness, and all the others were eliminated.

WAITING PERIOD: The 6 month and 2 year waiting periods were eliminated. There is no waiting period now.

HEART BALM ACTIONS: Alienation of Affections, Breach of Promise, and Criminal Conversations were all eliminated. These were very rarely used actions to begin with.

STANDARDIZED FORMS: There will be statewide standardized forms for many orders and for the financial affidavit.

CUSTODY and VISITATION: These words were replaced with "Allocation of Parental Responsibility" and "Parenting Time"

The new law applies to any pending or new pleading that finishes in 2016.