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Divorce, Separation Laws to Change in 2016

 Posted on August 16, 2015 in Family Law

divorce law, new law, Illinois Divorce AttorneyFor the first time in nearly 60 years, sweeping changes have been approved to family law statutes in Illinois. In late July, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a measure to amend the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), along with a number of other family-related laws in the state. Originally introduced as Senate Bill 57, the new law takes aim at several areas of concern, including divorce, child custody, and parental relocation, looking to keep up with the ever-evolving family dynamic.

At-Fault Divorce Eliminated

As it currently stands, a large majority of divorce cases throughout the state are granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, sometimes called a “no-fault” divorce. Beginning January 1st, when the new law goes into effect, such grounds will be the only option available for those wishing to dissolve their marriages. Fault grounds, which include infidelity, mental or physical cruelty, abandonment, and excessive substance abuse, will be eliminated, as the impact of at-fault divorce is relatively minimal anyway under current law. Marital misconduct may not be legally considered in any proceedings for spousal support, division of property, or child-related matters, as long as the child is not directly affected.

No More Two Year Separation

For many years, the largest obstacle to an efficient no-fault divorce has been a statutorily-mandated separation period. The IMDMA presently requires that a couple live “separate and apart” for at least two years before a divorce may be granted, a period that can be reduced to six months by mutual agreement of the parties. The new law will require a maximum separation period of six months, which the parties may waive completely by mutual agreement, allowing the divorce to proceed without undue delay.

Positive Change

While the measure was passed with relatively little fanfare, supporters believe the changes were long overdue. They maintain that the current law contains a number of checklist-type provisions that effectively distract from a couple's purpose of moving forward with their lives toward a more positive future. The new law is designed to remove many of the unnecessary roadblocks and help families look ahead rather than to mire them in bureaucratic procedures.

If you are considering divorce and would like to learn more about the potential effects of the new legislation, contact an experienced Will County family law attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., our mission is to protect your family's best interest in all areas of law, helping you achieve the outcome and future that you deserve. Call us today to schedule you free confidential consultation.

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