Illinois Legislature Considering Changes to Divorce Law

Divorces are complicated. On a personal level, they are complicated because of the emotions tied up in many of the decisions that have to be made, be they about child rearing or property division. However, divorces are also complicated on a legal level.

In one way, they are particularly complex when children are involved, as this can require a significant amount of discussion and agreement in order to ensure the current and future well-being of the children. But they are also complex because the laws themselves are complicated.

As society’s views, objectives, and priorities have shifted when it comes to how the law treats families and the individuals within those families, the laws have had to change as well. This has led to a large, complex set of laws, as evidenced by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Now the legislature is considering changing those laws.

Illinois Legislature Considers Changes to Divorce Laws

The Illinois Times recently reported on the legislature’s efforts to change the divorce laws in our state. The major laws we are currently dealing with were written back in 1977. Obviously society has changed substantially since then, when Jimmy Carter was president.

The Illinois Family Law Study Committee is a legislative advisory group that was created to make recommendations to the legislature to update the state’s marriage laws. It has been working on a set of recommendations for seven years, and is finally to the fine-tuning process. Changes they are proposing include the following:

  • Eliminating a part of the divorce proceedings that currently must take place in a separate hearing where the couple has to prove to the court that it should grant a divorce. The current practice often results in divorces that would otherwise be relatively amicable being turned adversarial when it is not necessary to do so;
  • Removing “heart-balm” provisions in the law. These provisions allow a spouse who has been cheated on to sue the “other man” or “other woman” due to his or her alleged role in breaking up the marriage. Suits under these provisions are extremely rare because it is extremely difficult to prove that the paramour actually cost the spouse money; and
  • Making major changes to how child custody matters are handled. Senate Bill 57 would completely get rid of child custody as we know it. It would replace the child custody system with a system where the courts would assign specific parenting responsibilities to each parent. The goal of these would be to remove some of the conflict and the idea of “winners and losers” from the custody process. This could make custody proceedings more complicated though, since orders may have to be much more specific.

Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.

Divorce is hard. Even under the most amicable of circumstances it involves disassembling a life that two people who once deeply cared for one another put together, usually over a term of years. In order to make sure that your rights are respected and that you get the best possible outcome, you should seek out the assistance of an experienced Illinois family law attorney. Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. today at 630-665-7676.