Following years of effort, Illinois lawmakers have finally passed two bills
that would potentially bring much-needed changes to many of the state's
outdated family law statutes. SB 57 will rewrite the Marriage and Dissolution
of Marriage Act and change many of the state's divorce policies, while
HB 1531 focuses on the Parentage Act and will dramatically change matters
of child custody and how the court perceives parentage. If signed into
law, both of these bills will greatly change the way families and their
counsel proceed with a family law or divorce matter—in many ways,
for the better.
SB 57 provides the following changes:
Child custody: There will be less of a focus on "winner take all" custody
and a greater emphasis of dividing parental responsibilities. These responsibilities,
when possible, will be allocated based on the parenting abilities and
resources of each parent.
Grounds for divorce: "Irreconcilable differences" will now be the only grounds for
divorce (and will be re-titled "irretrievable breakdown"). It
can be legally established when both spouses have been living apart for
six months. This will replace the two-year waiting period currently required
Relocation: Parents who wish or need to move can now relocate up to 25 miles (or
50 miles, in some counties) without permission from the court. Moving
across state lines has also become easier to establish.
Property division and spousal maintenance: The court must now give reasons for its decisions in both these areas.
Marriages that lasted less than 10 years will now be subject to maintenance
decisions that cannot be later modified. The court will decide if maintenance
in these cases should be amendable or fixed.
"Heart balm" actions: Citing hardships like alienation of affections, criminal conversation
(adultery), and breach of promise to marry will no longer be allowed.
HB 1531 provides the following changes:
Assumed parentage: In order to protect child/parent relationships regardless of legal relationships,
an adult's parentage of a child will be assumed under four different
circumstances. These circumstances favor male and female partners who
did not give birth to children, but who were a prevalent part of their
Gender neutrality: Equal rights and responsibilities will now be given to both parents,
regardless of gender. Every child will now be guaranteed the right to
the physical, emotional, and financial support of both parents, regardless
of the parent's gender.
DNA tests: The court will now have the power to reject certain requests for a DNA
tests to establish parentage. This will give the court power to prevent
children from being removed from adults who have assumed parentage in
favor of biological parents.
Are you and your family facing the reality of a divorce? If so, it is critical
you retain counsel capable of protecting your best interests. At
Law Firm of Caryl Jacobs Gabe, Ltd., our dedicated and compassionate South Barrington divorce attorney has
been advocating for individuals and families for nearly four decades.
We know how uncertain this time can be and the degree of diligence, insight,
and assertiveness needed to ensure the best possible legal solutions.
Enter a new chapter of your life with confidence.
Contact our firm today.