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Illinois state assembly gives family law an upgrade

Ask any attorney about family law in the state of Illinois and they will tell you that it's not only long but complicated as well. It's been a source of contention for couples for decades, causing them further frustration beyond what divorce normally brings.

It's an issue the bipartisan Family Law Study Committee has known about for quite some time now. For the past four years, the committee, chaired by family attorney Andre Katz, has been hearing from judges, family law experts, child advocates, and the public in an effort to discover what the current state of family law is in the state and how to remedy our laws to match the change.

It's been more than 35 years since legislators first wrote Illinois' current divorce and child custody laws and feelings have since changed. The committee has tried to reflect that by rewriting many of the laws to better serve the families.

One of the revised laws eliminates the "grounds" for divorce. Under previous law, a divorce petition, except in the case of domestic abuse, had to have "grounds for dissolution" which could include adultery, abandonment, or even a spouse exhibiting an addiction lasting at least two years. The standard separation period of two years before divorce has also been eliminated in the new legislation.

The new laws will also require judgments to be filed in a timely manner. According to the new law, a judgment will be entered within 60 days of closing and will be extended to 90 days if "good cause" is presented to the court.

The new laws also address child custody as well. If parents do not come up with an agreed upon parenting plan, then the terms of child custody will default to a time sharing arrangement of no less than 35 percent residential time for each parent.

Additional changes to family law are in the hopes of promoting an amicable separation between spouses and support the efforts of keeping a child's best interest in mind during court proceedings.

Sources:

CBS St. Louis, "Illinois House Considers Changes To Divorce Laws," April 15, 2013

98th General Assembly State of Illinois, HB1452, 2013 and 2014

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