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.
The Amendments to Divorce
The updated IMDMA has made substantial changes to all aspects of family law. The IMDMA has eliminated the grounds for divorce except for irreconcilable differences, thus getting rid of the long-standing tradition of allowing divorcing partners to assign their divorce to a specific set of reasons that weigh blame onto each other. Generally this assignation of blame through the grounds system led to acrimonious divorces and lascivious evidence used to pale reputations; the purpose for the grounds system was necessary when legal divorce required legal reasoning rather than just the simple “love lost”. Because courts no longer use the grounds to retaliate against bad-acting spouses, the grounds become unnecessary to the process. The IMDMA is looking to get rid of long-term separation requirements, permitting those who wish to separate to be able to without waiting the previously-required two-year waiting period.
The Amendments to Child Custody
The IMDMA also has focused on revamping child custody proceedings with a move toward custody referring to “time spent” rather than actual custodial possession. In other words, the changes in the IMDMA show that the court is now, through its “best interest of the child” analysis, reassessing how divorcing parents are able to spend time with their children and who should be able to decide on choices for the raising of the children.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County
Changes to the IMDMA will have a substantial impact on the way family law will be understood. It is important to speak with the experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices if you are planning to divorce your spouse so you are aware of any amendments that may affect your family. Contact our experienced DuPage County family law attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.
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