Understanding the laws when getting divorced, especially when minor children are involved is important for Illinois parents. Historically, courts had to identify which parent would have what type of custody. This determined which parental house would be considered the primary residence for the children and when the kids would see the other parent. It also determined which parent had the right to make what types of decisions on behalf of the children.
As of January 1, 2016, the laws in the state of Illinois that govern what were formerly referred to as child custody and visitation changed. Reports indicate that this is the first time since 1973 that a significant change to these laws has taken place. The revisions are expected to bring Illinois law more in line with today’s families. What a family looks like in 2016 can be very different in many cases than what it looked like in 1973. There are more remarriages with children leading to blended families that have unique concerns when getting married. Additionally, it is not uncommon today for a gay or lesbian couple to have children.
Courts must continue to put the best interests of children first when making decisions but instead of custody or visitation, they will assign allocations for parental responsibility and parenting time. One factor in determining this will be how the parents made decisions for their kids while they were married. Another change is the requirement for a residential parent to obtain court approval before moving more than 25 miles away from the other parent.
Spouses in Illinois who are planning to get divorced may wish to consult with a lawyer before making any final decisions. Knowing what to expect with the law can be helpful when faced with these situations.
Source: Daily North Shore, “Illinois Divorce Law: Big Changes,” Joanna Brown, January 30, 2016