Illinois Family Law Changing
In addition to child custody and visitation modifications, several significant changes to family law in Illinois will take effect January 1, 2016. These changes impact parents with children of all ages, as well as the process for obtaining a divorce.
Changes to Illinois Law
Beginning in January, under Illinois law, irreconcilable differences will be the only basis for divorce. As a result, it will no longer be necessary to argue and prove fault (such as mental cruelty, adultery and/or abandonment) to complete the divorce process. Also, if the parties have lived separate and apart for six months prior to the entry of the judgment to dissolve the marriage, there is a presumption that irreconcilable differences exist. Importantly, this presumption cannot be rebutted. The six-month period is a change from the previous two-year requirement.
After a divorce has been completed that involves children, custodial parents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties will be allowed to relocate up to 25 miles from their current residence without court permission. Parents in all other counties will be allowed to move up to 50 miles from their current residence without the permission of the court. Additionally, parents can move up to 25 miles across state lines without court permission.
Pursuant to Illinois law, both parents can be forced by the court to contribute to the post-secondary education of their children. With the changes made to Illinois law, the obligation to contribute to educational expenses will terminate when the child reaches the age of 23, unless “good cause” is shown as to why contributions should continue. However, in all cases, the parent's obligation to contribute ends when the child reaches 25 years of age. The costs that parents must contribute towards include payment for up to five college applications, two standardized college entrance examinations, and one standardized college entrance examination prep course.
The type of expenses for college, such as tuition, fees, housing, and meals, will not change significantly as 2016 begins. However, a major change is that the amount a parent must pay is now capped at the equivalent of the costs to attend the University of Illinois. This means that, regardless of what school a child elects to attend, the total amount his or her parents must contribute can be no more than the University of Illinois tuition amount. Still, this only applies when the parents do not agree with the choice-of-school decision. It is still certainly permissible for parents to contribute any amount that they so desire.
The obligation to pay college expenses terminates if the child fails to maintain a cumulative “C” grade point average, unless such failure was caused by serious illness or other good cause. Additionally, the obligation to contribute ends upon completion of a bachelor's degree or if the child marries.
As we enter 2016, we will experience some significant changes to the laws that govern the family relationship in Illinois. For more information or to discuss how we can help you, please reach out to a skilled Illinois family law attorney at MKFM Law today. We look forward to hearing from you.