New family law statutes approved in Illinois

Illinois Family Law LegislationOn July 21, 2015, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new family law legislation in Illinois.  The  legislation is known as SB 57 and HB 1531 and will take effect in 2016. It brings significant changes to how family law will work in Illinois relative to dissolution of marriage, child custody and paternity cases.

This first piece of legislation, known as SB 57, enacts several important changes.  Some of the most noteworthy changes are as follows:

  • SB 57 removes all grounds for dissolution of marriage besides irreconcilable differences.
  • SB 57 indicates that marriages are presumed to be irretrievably broken if the parties have been living separate and apart for six months.
  • SB 57 gives the court the ability to allocate decision-making between the parties.
  • Before this legislation, the primary residential parent could move anywhere within the State of Illinois without giving notice and seeking out court approval.  Now, with SB 57, parents with primary residential status residing in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties may move up to 25 miles from their current residence without leave of court. For those same parents living elsewhere in Illinois, parents may move up to 50 miles from their current residence without leave of court, and for those living close to the border of another state, the primary residential parent may move up to 25 miles into that state.  Additionally, if the primary residential parent wishes to move any further than the proscribed limits in the law, that parent must provide notice of the proposed relocation to the other parent and the other parent has an opportunity to contest the move.
  • SB 57 does away with civil suits such as, alienation of affection, breach of promise to marry, and “criminal conversation.”

The second piece of legislation signed the same day, known as HB 1531, amends the Parentage Act of 1984.  In addition to being a gender-neutral statute that purportedly extends equal rights and responsibilities to both parents regardless of their sex, this legislation has many important components. Some of the most noteworthy changes are as follows:

  • HB 1531 enacts some modifications to the presumptions of parentage. While the previous law provided two rebuttable presumptions and two conclusive presumptions, the new law sets out four rebuttable presumptions and addresses voluntary acknowledgments in Article 3.
  • HB 1531 sets forth ten factors for deciding whether to allow genetic testing.

The reality is SB 57 and HB 1531 will dramatically alter how dissolution of marriage actions and paternity cases will take place in the State of Illinois. There is no doubt that these changes will result in some significant changes starting in 2016.

If you are going through divorce or family law matter in Illinois, Stange Law Firm, PC can help.  You can contact us at 1-855-805-0595.

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