The concept of family has made an incredible transformation over hundreds of years. The traditional family unit hundreds of years ago painted a portrait of the nuclear family – father, mother, and children – with various layers of familial relatives that supported and encircled the nuclear family. Each nuclear family unit was considered independent and unified, with the responsibilities of each parent outlined according to their specific gender roles and society’s ideals. Flash forward to today’s present and the family norm has transformed from the traditional nuclear family into a various cross-section of familial lifestyles.
The History of Illinois’s Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act
In Illinois, the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) is the codification of family practices in the state. It was passed in 1977 and attempted to handle the ever-changing relationship between the court system, the law, and the family. Except for minor tweaks, the law, which was written back in 1977, has not been touched in 40 years, and now is the center of a massive overhaul. As part of the overhaul, Illinois set up its own specialized committee, the Illinois Family Law Study Committee, to comb through the IMDMA and make the necessary changes to reflect the new normal now seen throughout Illinois and the United States. Same-sex marriage, which had been codified and took effect on June 1, 2014, was just one of the many issues tackled.