Guest Post by: Andrew G. Vaughn. Divorce Attorney/Founder of NuVorce LLC and Professor of Advanced Domestic Relations Law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

On January 1, 2016 a new set of divorce laws became effective in Illinois. These laws changed many of the core practices in divorce. In this three part guest blog post, we will discuss: (1) the fundamentals of divorce, (2) how this new law impacts your kids, and (3) how this new law impacts your wallet.

The Basics

Divorce impacts every aspect of your life, from how often you see your children to how much you can spend at Starbucks. Because of this, it can seem very complex. However, some of the new changes to the law have simplified the process. In this post, we’ll discuss how to identify what issues you will have in your divorce and the grounds for divorce.

Identifying the Issues

Do you have children? If the answer is yes, you will need to consider at least 5 issues in your divorce: (1) Child Custody, (2) Visitation, (3) Child Support, (4) Alimony, and (5) Property Division. If the answer is no, you will need to consider only two of those issues: (1) Alimony and (2) Property Division.

Grounds for Divorce

In 2015 and earlier, you could be divorce for one of two reasons (which are called grounds because lawyers have to make things complicated). The first reason for divorce was what the statute called “Fault Grounds.” This included adultery, abuse, impotence, etc. The second reason for divorce was called “No Fault.” This meant that basically the marriage has just broken down. Under the new Illinois Divorce Law the only reason for divorce is “No Fault.”

As part of the “No Fault” grounds for divorce, you also have to prove that you and your spouse have been separated. Under the old law, you had to be separated for two years (but there was an exception where you could agree to a shorter separation). Under the new Illinois Divorce Law, that separation period has been reduced to 6 months.

Bottom Line

Under the new law divorce can happen faster (6 months of separation instead of 2 years) and should happen nicer (under the no fault concept – no one needs to drag their spouse through the mud to get the divorce).

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