The New Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA)

On January 01, 2016 there was a revolutionary change brought to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Family law experts in Illinois worked for years to bring a more fair and balanced law to parents (married or unmarried) in Illinois. There is now an entirely new law when it comes to divorce and parentage cases in Illinois.

Although not comprehensive, the below represents the most commonly discussed changes:

  1. Child custody:  The new law removed the term “custody” and the concept of it all together. It is now called allocation of parental responsibility. Mother and Father allocate parental responsibility for the child/children regarding the following matters: education; extra-curricular activities; healthcare/related health care matters; and religion. These matters will be outlined in the Parenting Plan/Allocation of Responsibility Judgment (not a joint parenting agreement).
  2. Child Support: The new law includes additional deductions that were not originally computed for purposes of determining net income.
  3. Visitation:  Visitation is now called parenting time. To be clear, parenting time will still occur between the the child and the parent, however the term itself is called parenting time. Additionally, the logistics of the parenting time will be clearly outlined in what is now called Parenting Plan/Allocation of Responsibility Judgment.

If you had an agreement entered before the end of 2015, your parenting agreement is still valid. However, if you go to court to make any changes, your changes must be in compliance with the new law in word and execution.

With the new changes to the law it is important that you hire an attorney that is not only well versed in family law but also aware of the changes. Family law attorneys have attended several hours of continuing legal education classes to ensure we know and understand the new IMDMA.

Please give us a call if you or someone you know has a family law issue.

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