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Leaving town with the kids? New law means fewer parents in court p2

We are talking about one change in Illinois family law that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016. The General Assembly has completely reworked the state's approach to the dissolution of marriage, especially laws that address the parent/child relationship.

The new statutes are designed to reduce the negative effects of a divorce or separation on the children involved. A true commitment to the best interest of the child means that parents and judges should focus on reducing uncertainty, conflict and rancor that can make a tough situation even tougher. The law also recognizes that a child's relationship with both parents (absent violence) should be preserved or enhanced after the marriage ends.

In parenting decisions, then, the court will step away when it can, allowing the parents to work out a decision on their own. The court may review those decisions under certain circumstances, or, if the parents cannot agree, the court will find a solution. The child's health and well-being are still the guiding principles, but the parent/child relationship that the law encourages and protects reflects a more modern understanding of family life.

These principles apply to managing one parent's relocation. Rather than heading straight to court to work out a visitation plan, the parents are encouraged to find solutions on their own, to find ways to overcome the distance that will preserve each parent's relationship with the child.

Under the new law, the parent wishing to move must give the other parent 60 days' notice of the plan to relocate, and the notice must include the date of the move, the new address and how long this relocation will last. If the other parent agrees and signs the document, there is no hearing. The agreement must be filed with the court, though, as an amendment to the parenting agreement.

Only when the parties cannot agree will the court get involved. We'll explain more in our next post.

Source: Ninety-Ninth Illinois General Assembly - 2015, Public Act 99-90 via WestlawNext

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