Major changes may be coming to Illinois Family Law

A committee was established pursuant to a House resolution back by Speaker Michael Madigan rewrite the entire divorce act taking into account all the changes that have happened since it was enacted in 1977.

Here are a few of the hundreds of proposed amendments to the marriage and divorce statutes:

1) No more grounds for divorce

Almost all divorce cases are under the grounds of “irreconcilable differences” which can mean anything. Illinois is a no fault state so grounds are unnecessary.

2) Share-income approach for child support

Under the current system courts are to calculate support based on the payor’s income and assets without much regard to parenting time or the other spouses income or assets. The shared income approach will likely lead to fairer child support figures.

3) Maintenance awards to be explained in writing

Illinois judges can get away with justifying maintenance awards by saying they “considered all the factors.” Under the new law, they will need to be more specific which will help if someone wants to appeal the judge’s maintenance award.

4) Reallocation of parental time and responsibilities

Right now only two types of custody exist, sole and joint. Under the committee’s proposal a hybrid of the two could be done. For example, the mother could make the decision on educational issues and the father on medical issues if that makes the most sense. The committee also agreed that Illinois should adopt a statutory presumption that it is in the child’s best interest to spend at least 35 percent of the time with each parent.

5) Elimination of old common-law remedies

Laws still exist such as suing for alienation of affection, breach of promise to marry and civil charge of adultery. These laws are rarely ever used and are usually abused when they are used. These remedies are “old-fashioned.” and declining in popularity around the country.

The earliest these law would likely go into affect would be 2014 and would not apply to cases that were decided prior to the change of the laws.