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.

New Maintence Statute in Illinois

As of January 1, 2015, Illinois has a completely new statute dealing with maintenance (formerly known as alimony and sometimes called spousal support). Never before have we had a statutory formula for how to calculate maintenance. The reasons given by the drafters of the law was that Illinois judges were all over the map when awarding or not awarding maintenance. There was no consistency or predictability so they had to pass law with some guidelines. That said, judges can still do what they want (i.e. deviate from the statute), if they have good reasons to do so.

Collaborative Divorce vs. Mediation

Both mediation and collaborative divorce help couples sort through a variety of issues, including child custody, the division of property and debt, retirement benefits, child support and other matters in a way that’s designed to keep both parties focused on solutions. Both processes aim to minimize expenses, streamline red tape and avoid conflict.