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New year, new changes to Illinois family law, part 2

Photo of Karen Lavin

A previous post began laying out some of the changes to Illinois' family laws as of 2016. As shared previously, there has been a terminology change regarding what has classically been referred to as "child custody." Now, Illinois doesn't assign child custody, but the court allocates "parenting time and responsibility."

Supporters of the changes suggest that the change of phrase reflects today's reality -- that both parents work and help raise the kids. It is no longer the go-to setup for the mother to be the primary parent and the father to be the only one who works. Therefore, allocating more equal amounts of parenting time and responsibility makes sense for Illinois families. 

Past child custody laws have changed in another important way. Relocation can be a matter of contention between parents. Obviously, if a parent moves/lives farther away from the other, issues of parenting time can get complicated.

Relocation can especially create sensitive disputes if the parent who is relocating has the child most of the time. Moving makes it more difficult for the other parent to see their child as much as they might hope. The move can also become an expense if the parent has to travel to see the child. 

The relocation law has changed this year, making the matter less about the state where the parent lives, but more about the distance a parent might move from the other. In the past, parents could move anywhere in the state of Illinois without needing special consideration. Now, parents need special permission if they seek to move 25 miles away (including out of state) or farther than 50 miles within the state. 

Family laws can be complicated. They can be especially complicated to navigate when emotions are so highly involved. If you have any questions about your rights and responsibilities as a parent, discuss them with a local divorce lawyer as soon as possible. 

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