Major Changes to Illinois Child Custody and Parental Visitation Laws
For the last four decades, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) has provided the legal framework for divorcing families in IL. Although the IMDMA has been gradually revised since it was originally enacted, effective Jan 1, 2016 things looks different.
Its not called custody anymoreThe updated IMDMA provides a new way for parents and the courts to think about raising a child following a divorce, separation, or break-up. The previous version of the law provided two options for parenting situations: sole custody or joint custody. In a sole custody arrangement, one parent would be granted all of the authority for important decision-making regarding the child, while such responsibilities would be shared by both parents under a joint custody order. Titles such as custodial and non-custodial parent tended to imply that one parent was more important than the other, often leading to bitter, drawn-out battles over child custody.
Allocation of Parental ResponsiblitiesThe entire concept of child custody has been replaced with a more fluid, more cooperative allocation of parental responsibilities. Orders will not be classified as sole or joint custody, nor will either party be labeled as a custodial or non-custodial parent. Instead, parents are expected to work together in raising their child, with each parent's rights being fully respected and protected.