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Illinois legislature considers divorce law reform

State legislatures are in full swing all around the nation. Illinois is no exception, and this year lawmakers are considering a significant overhaul of the state's divorce laws.

For the past four years, a bipartisan committee has been gathering input on possible changes in Illinois divorce laws. The committee has heard from a host of stakeholders involved in the divorce process, from both within the court system and outside of it.

There are many changes being proposed.

One of the most fundamental of these is that there would no longer be a need to specify specific grounds for a divorce. Under current law, the catch-all ground of "irreconcilable differences" is widely used. The reform proposal would eliminate that requirement altogether. The reasoning is that the requirement to specify a particular ground has simply outlived its usefulness.

Another significant change concerns child support. The reform proposal is to use a share-income approach. This means that support awards would consider both parents' income, as well as the amount parenting time each parent has.

The current law on child support looks almost entirely to the non-custodial parents' gross income and assets. The proposal is to also factor in the custodial parent's income and assets, as well as how much time each parent actually spends with the child.

The reform committee has also been concerned about how long it takes to resolve Illinois divorce cases. The committee is therefore proposing that final judgments should be issued within 90 days of the completion of legal proceedings.

We will continue to monitor the status of the proposed reforms in the Illinois legislature. The next step, a committee hearing on HB 1452, comes this week.

Source: "Illinois House Considers Changes to Divorce Laws," CBS St. Louis, 4-15-13

Please visit our page on child support.

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