The Future of Illinois Divorce Laws
Proactive divorce attorneys in Illinois are poised to handle potential imminent changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA, for short). Recommendations for changes to the IMDMA from the Family Law Study Committee, a group of individuals who have been studying existing Illinois divorce laws since 2008, are very close to being enacted. The Illinois State Bar Association's Director of Legislative Affairs recently reviewed and compiled a listof all of the potential changes to the IMDMA. If these changes pass this Fall's legislative veto session, the changes will be put into effect as early as Summer 2014. These changes could result in significant changes to how divorces in Illinois occur.
If signed into law, the proposed changes will impact the following areas:
- Divorce grounds – Specific grounds for divorce will no longer be needed in order to file. Instead, “irreconcilable differences” will be the only basis for divorce.
- Judgment times – Final judgments will be entered no more than 90 days after trial, reducing confusion for child support and other issues that can linger post-trial.
- Visitation –There will be a presumption that it is in a child's best interest to spend at least 35% of his or her time with each parent (though this presumption can be rebutted in specific instances were evidence supports reducing that time).
- Maintenance – Unallocated support (the combining of spousal maintenance and child support into one monthly payment) will not be allowed anymore.
- Parenting responsibilities/custody – There will be a presumption that joint legal custody is in a child's best interest, though, again, this presumption can be rebutted in specific instances were evidence supports sole custody to one parent.
These are just a few highlights of the proposed changes to Illinois divorce laws.
What These Changes Mean
With these proposed changes come new ways of addressing and handling divorce issues, such as visitation, spousal maintenance, and the division of marital property. Additionally, the potential divorce law changes are vast and intricate, and will require substantial analysis by Illinois attorneys. While many people choose to handle their divorce cases pro se, without the help of an attorney, there is no substitute for an experienced, educated divorce attorney to assist parties through a divorce. The issues in divorce cases can be very complex, and it is extremely valuable to have the expertise of an attorney who is not only familiar with these issues and their implications, but who also understands how to protect a party's rights, property, and family. And this expert advice and assistance will be even more crucial as Illinois residents work through the potential new divorce law changes and all of their impacts.
Each divorce attorney at our firm is committed to staying abreast of the new laws and changes in order to provide the best legal representation available. And with the new laws will come new ways of handling the many complicated issues in divorce cases and new opportunities for innovative legal strategies. The attorneys at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC are excited and eager to work with the new laws and to structure new and effective ways of helping our clients through divorce cases. If you are considering divorce or need knowledgeable, experienced representation or advice in any family law matter, contact one of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC's attorneys for a free consultation.