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Illinois overhauls divorce laws

Legislation approved last year has brought changes to the rules governing divorce in Illinois. According to the Chicago Tribune, these are the first major changes to divorce laws since 1977, and they are sweeping changes that cover not only grounds for filing but also parenting time and child support payments. The new law also uses the term “spouse” so it is clear that all marriages are covered the same under the law.

These changes move Illinois citizens from needs specific grounds to file for divorce, such as adultery, into a no-fault state. Spouses no longer need to prove one another guilty of blame to end the marriage. The separation period when a divorce is not agreed to by both parties is now shortened to six months.

Spousal maintenance, once left up to a judge’s discretion, now uses a formula for couples earning less than $250,000 yearly gross income. The higher-paid spouse will provide alimony to the lower-paid spouse--30 percent of the higher earner’s income minus 20 percent of the lower earner’s income. “So if a husband earns $100,000 a year and his wife $50,000, he would pay her $30,000, minus $10,000, for a total of $20,000.” The duration of spousal support payments is depending upon the length of the marriage.

Child support, on the other hand, will be figured out after any spousal support. WSIL-TV reports that instead of the income percentages of the past, parents will each be required to submit their incomes, and the amount of “parenting time” each spends come into the mix as well. The more time a parent and child spend together, the less support is owed.

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