The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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child support, DuPage County family law attorneyIn a recent post on this blog, we talked at length about the current guidelines that family court use when calculating orders for child support in Illinois. We also mentioned that a new law is set to take effect next summer that will dramatically update the state’s approach to child support, bringing it more in line with the dynamics of today’s families.

A More Equitable Model

Beginning July 1, 2017, Illinois will switch over to what is known as an “income shares” model for calculating child support. Unlike the existing model, an income shares system takes into account the income of both parents and can be modified to consider the impact of shared parenting time. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DFHS) is currently developing the specific quantitative guidelines that will be used, but the basic principles have been set by the new law.

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child support, DuPage County child support attorneyAre you a divorced parent who struggles with the limited amount of parenting time that you have been allocated with your child? Such a situation is understandably frustrating for anyone. Even parents who are fortunate enough to share parenting time equally often do not feel that it is enough. These parents are not being selfish; rather, they truly believe that the time they spend with their children offers substantial benefits for everyone involved. There is, however, another frustrating element of shared parenting time that effects many parents: child support. It can be very disheartening to assume responsibility for your child half of the time or more but still be required to make child support payments.

No Current Correlation

As the law in Illinois exists today, there is no statutory relationship between child support requirements and parenting time or parental responsibilities for divorced or unmarried parents. The considerations for each are completely independent of one another, at least as far as the letter of the law is concerned.

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alimony, support, DuPage County family lawyerWith relatively significant changes regarding divorce and child custody going into effect this month, some of the smaller updates to the law may be going somewhat unnoticed. While some, such as new requirements for courts to enter the judgment within 60 days of the close of proofs, will have more of a procedural impact than substantive, others, such as those regarding spousal maintenance, can have an effect not only on the immediate order but on the potential for modification in the future.

Spousal Maintenance

In the state of Illinois, there is no presumed right to spousal maintenance in a divorce. Of course, a couple may negotiate a conscionable agreement regarding spousal support, and in such cases, the court will enter the agreement as an enforceable order. Absent an agreement, however, the court must examine the circumstances of the marriage and divorce in deciding whether or not such an award is appropriate. The court must take into account, among other factors:

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Posted on in Visitation

parenting time, visitation, DuPage County family law attorneyFor many years in Illinois, the parental right to reasonable visitation has been fiercely protected by law. While a court could restrict or limit visitation to protect the child, it would take an extremely serious set of circumstances to completely terminate such rights of a parent. Thanks to a measure passed in Illinois this past year, parents will no longer be considered to have so-called “visitation” with their children. Instead the term to be used will be “parenting time,” more accurately representing the inherent responsibilities.

Changes in Child Custody Laws

The shift from visitation to parenting time is part of an overall larger transformation of the state’s child custody provisions. Concepts of sole and joint custody are being eliminated in favor of a much more cooperative idea of allocated parenting responsibilities. Child custody, as it currently exists, was often a major point of contention for divorcing, separated, or unmarried parents, as many seemed fixated on “winning” or “losing” a custody battle. By focusing on actual parenting responsibilities rather than titles or statuses like custodial and non-custodial parent, the well-being of the child is more likely to remain the top priority.

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divorce, separation, Illinois Family Law AttorneyIf you know a couple who recently went through the process of divorce in Illinois, chances are, they were probably required to wait at least six months before the divorce would be granted. Even if the parties fully agree upon every detail of the dissolution, existing law in the state mandates a separation period in a no-fault divorce. Beginning in 2016, however, that will no longer be the case, as a new law will allow couples to look ahead to their post-divorce life without having to simply watch the calendar and wait.

Two Years or Six Months

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act contains most of the state’s provisions regarding divorce. For the last several decades, it has allowed for divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences—often called no-fault divorce—in addition to more traditional reasons, including adultery, repeated mental or physical abuse, or long-term alcohol or drug issues. However, before a no-fault divorce can be issued, the couple must show that they have lived “separate and apart” for at least two years. The law permits a shorter period if both parties agree, but in no case can the separation be less than six months.

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parental relocation, Illinois law, Aurora Family LawyerThe State of Illinois is geographically larger than many entire nations. Covering an area of nearly 58,000 square miles, Illinois is roughly the same size as the countries of Tunisia and Nepal, and about 15 percent bigger than Greece. As a state, Illinois ranks 25th in geographic area, placing it squarely in the middle of the pack. Despite its expanse, current laws regarding child custody make it completely legal for a custodial parent to move a child from one side of the state to the other without approval, while making a short move across state lines illegal. Beginning in 2016, however, this is set to change as a law signed last month will completely revamp relocation guidelines for parents subject to a custody order.

Current Requirements

Under the current law, a parent with primary residential or physical custody of a child is permitted to move anywhere within the state of Illinois without approval from the court or the other parent. While such a move could certainly create logistical difficulties and, most likely, strain the relationship between the parents, there is no statutory measure in place prevent it. This means a parent could move with the child from Evanston to Carbondale—about five and half hours and 350 miles away—without approval.

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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