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New Laws Bring Changes for Child Custody and Support

Posted in Family Law on Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Illinois residents are facing sweeping changes to many of the laws that are currently in place. These changes could potentially have a positive impact on divorces where there are children involved. In 2015, more than 200 new pieces of legislation were approved, including a massive overhaul of the state’s almost 40-year-old family court laws. These went into effect in January 2016. If you or someone you love is a parent going through a divorce or separation, it is important to be aware of how these new laws could affect you regarding child custody and child support as well as how they can potentially impact your children’s lives.

Changes in Child Custody

Effective January 1, 2016, Senate Bill 0057 provides various rewrites to the laws governing family matters in Illinois. Among these rewrites were changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, changing not only the process for getting a divorce in the state, but also how the court determines and awards custody. The new law added Section VI: Allocation of Parental Responsibility. Under this law, the court will no longer use the term ‘custody’ in proceedings, instead opting to refer to these matters in what it hopes is the more favorable and less contentious term “allocating responsibility” and instead of custody awards, issuing “allocation judgments.” In terms of allocating parental responsibility, the court will portion out parenting time, which is defined under the statute as the time during which a parent is responsible for “caretaking functions and non-significant decision making responsibilities” relating to the child. Caretaking functions include the following:

  • Feeding the child and providing for his or her personal hygiene needs;
  • Ensuring the child attends school and extracurricular activities;
  • Providing support and encouragement in the child’s developmental needs;
  • Providing discipline and parental guidance to the child;
  • Fostering appropriate relationships between the child and his or her siblings and relatives;
  • Providing alternative care for the child, when necessary, by an appropriate family member or child care provider.

The court will continue to use parenting plans to portion out caretaking responsibilities as well as portioning out specific parenting time schedules and decision-making responsibilities. These responsibilities include deciding where the child will live, which schools the child will attend, and which religious practices the child observes. In addition to these changes, parents are now afforded the right to move with their children up to 50 miles within the state and 25 miles out of state from where they currently reside without court approval.

New Considerations for Child Support

Under the Illinois child support statutes (750 ILCS 5/505) support is portioned out to the ‘supporting parent’ of the child, according to the amount of money the paying parent makes. In light of the new allocations of parental responsibilities and their impact on parenting plans, the current guidelines could prove problematic and might need to be revised in the future.

At the same time, the Parentage Act of 2015 (HB 1531/PA 99-0085), one of the over 200 laws that went into effect at the beginning of the year, provides extensive revisions of the state’s parenting laws and can assist the courts in providing for the establishment of court-ordered child support as well as enforcement of those orders. Another recently enacted law, the Uniform Interstate Support Act, makes substantial changes to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, making it easier to enforce support obligations from parents who reside outside Illinois.

Call Our Experienced Will County Family Law Attorneys Today

When you are dealing with sensitive issues regarding child custody and support. you can trust Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino & Pollack, P.C. to vigorously defend your rights while ensuring your interests are protected. Our team of experienced family law attorneys has the legal knowledge and counsel necessary to advise you about how best to proceed in your particular case. When it comes to your family, get the professional legal help you need and the comprehensive, compassionate client service you deserve. Serving Will County and the surrounding areas, call or contact us online today for an initial and confidential consultation.

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