Significant changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in 2016 & 2017 you should know

Divorce and child custody laws:

Last year, on January 1, 2016, the Illinois legislature drastically changed divorce and child custody laws in Illinois. Under the old Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the terms “joint custody,” “sole custody,” and “visitation” were used to discuss family law issues. These harsh terms expressed a connotation of winners and losers in an already intense and emotional legal battle. However, the new changes to the law include more appropriate terminology such as, “allocation of parental responsibility: decision-making” in Section 602.5 of the IMDMA and “allocation of parental responsibility: parenting time” Section 602.7 of the IMDMA. The court determines and allocates decision-making responsibilities and parenting time according to the child’s best interests. Therefore, if you are involved in a family law dispute it is important that you understand that the term “custody” is abolished and has been replaced with the term “parental responsibility,” and the term “visitation” has been replaced with “parenting time” since you will be seeing these terms frequently in the documents your attorney files on your behalf.

Child support calculations:

As of July 1, 2017, child support is calculated in an entirely different way in Illinois. Previously, child support was calculated based on the payor’s net income and then applying a certain percentage based on the number of minor children (20% for one child, 28% for two, 32% for three, and 40% for four.) Net income is defined in Section 505 of the IMDMA as gross income minus taxes and certain specified deductions, including current child support payments. The new child support law that the Illinois legislature enacted considers the combined net income of both parents, not just the payor’s net income, when calculating child support. Another addition to the law is that spousal maintenance or alimony received pursuant to a court order is considered gross income for child support purposes. The old method of calculating child support using flat percentages based on the number of children is stricken. Knowing the new child support calculation laws will help you better understand how your attorney’s calculate your child support amount and help you feel more involved in the process.

Please contact the attorneys at Kogut & Wilson, LLC to better understand your legal needs.


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