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Impact of New Laws on Illinois Divorce

Legislators have made considerable changes to the Illinois Dissolution of Marriage Act in the past couple of years. These changes reflect the evolving needs and lifestyles of Illinois residents. Going forward, it’s important to understand the impact these amendments will have on everything from parenting time to spousal support payments.

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Illinois divorce

Introduction of Gender Neutral Language

The State of Illinois recognizes same-sex marriage and has removed the words “husband and wife” and replaced these nomenclatures with the gender neutral “spouses” to reflect this.

Separation Period Shortened

Legislators have reduced the required separation period to establish irreconcilable differences from two-years to six months. This separation period shows the court that the marriage has reached a point of irretrievable breakdown.

Pure “No Fault” State

Illinois became a pure “no fault” divorce state on January 1, 2016. The change makes it easier for couples to pursue divorce without having to show the cause for the divorce, i.e. infidelity, marital neglect, abuse, etc.

Maintenance Formula Updated

Updates to the law made in 2015 affect couples making combined gross incomes less than $250,000. Under the new formula, the spouse with the higher income is required to pay 30% of their gross income minus 20% of the recipient’s income.

Moreover, the duration of maintenance is no longer at the judge’s discretion. Under the new formula, the duration of maintenance is determined by the length of the marriage. This period can be as short as 1 year for a marriage lasting less than 5 years, or as long as 13 years for a marriage lasting between 15-20 years.

Income Shares

Currently, Illinois requires parents make a minimum payment of $40 per month, per child. The child support requirement can be set up to a maximum of 40% of a parent’s combined income.

The new “income shares” model, the court will use the economic tables compiled by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to determine child support. These tables factor in the combined income of the divorcing couple, the cost of living, and the number of children.

The new model also takes into account shared parenting time, and voluntary unemployment/underemployment.

A family law attorney in Illinois can help divorcing couples navigate these changes and the impact they will have on the divorce. Because these changes can have a significant impact on an individual’s finances and lifestyle, it is important to understand and prepare for them before moving forward.

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