Photo of Karen Lavin

The beginning of a new year brings with it multiple changes for different people. For many who have been in unhappy marriages, the milestone marks the beginning of their divorce process. They have waited to file for divorce until the holidays ended, and now the big life change is upon them in 2016. 

While the January divorce trend rings true through most of the U.S., those who took the big step to divorce in Illinois at the turn of the year face family law changes that have already taken effect now that the new year has arrived.

A major change in Illinois family law is to child custody matters. Since those issues are highly important and sensitive to any parents who go through divorce, we thought it was valuable to lay out the changes as simply as possible in this blog. Those who have more specific questions about the changes should talk to their trusted divorce lawyer as soon as possible. 

Parents will still have to decide or dispute who will have the children when and who has certain rights over the lives of the kids, but terminology has changed. Instead of the law referring to this issue as child custody, now it will be framed as the “allocation of parenting time and responsibility.” The change in terms is meant to make the matter less confrontational, as “child custody” has taken on the image of parents fighting and one winning. 

Beyond the change of terminology, there are other specific changes related to parents’ rights and courts making decisions about those rights during the divorce process. An upcoming post will outline these changes in more detail.