Implemented January 1, 2016, Senate Bill 57 has brought a lot of changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). In many ways, it is meant to simplify the system, but it is nearly a complete overhaul on the law governing marriage, divorce, custody, and child support. So what do all these changes mean for your family law case in 2016? The following points explore the basics.
“Heart Balm” Actions and “Fault” Divorce
“Heart balm” actions, or civil actions brought by third parties because of a broken heart, have been eradicated by Senate Bill 57. Used to place blame for marital or couple issues, such as alienation of affection, breach of promise to marry, and “criminal conversion” (adultery), these actions were deemed outdated and potentially damaging to all involved parties by the general assembly in the Illinois Bar Law Journal.
Elimination of these civil actions extends directly into the family court and divorces, completely eliminating “fault” divorces. This Senate Bill 57 provision attempts to eliminate defensive and offensive stances in the courtroom, reduce the amount of time spent arguing over matters such as finances or custody based on who did more wrong in the marriage, and it requires that a more rational approach be taken when allocating marital property.
Family Law Impact: Custody now Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
As family dynamics and gender roles have shifted, so have the considerations of how custody (now termed as the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time) is determined. Senate Bill 57 has done away with terms like “sole” and “joint” custody (and the arguments that often ensue) and, instead, encourages parents to maintain their focus on what is truly important: the needs and best interest of their child or children. For most families, this will include a fair allocation of parenting time between parents, and an agreement that will determine which parent will be responsible for certain decisions regarding the child or children.
Parental relocation – or a parent’s ability to move after a divorce – was also altered under Senate Bill 57. Now, rather than parent obtaining leave to the court for relocation based upon zip code or state, they will request leave based upon distance. Under this amendment to the IMDMA, some parents may be permitted to actually cross the Illinois state border, provided it does not surpass the allowed distance determined by the court.
Divorce in 2016? Seek Assistance from Our Experienced Illinois Divorce Attorneys
In the face of all the changes 2016 and Senate Bill 57 have brought to the family court system, couples seeking a divorce are encouraged to seek experienced and professional assistance. Our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys can guide you through all of the new laws, providing you with experienced and personalized advice and representation throughout the entire process. To learn more and ask how we can help with your divorce, schedule a free initial consultation. Call 630-932-9100 today.
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