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Progress on Illinois Family Law Changes

I spoke with one of the committee leaders from the Illinois Legislature’s Family Law Committee today on the progress being made to reform Illinois’ antiquated custody and support statutes.

I have been writing for years on the need for Illinois to join the 21st century, and revise its Dissolution of Marriage Act to reflect statutes that exist in other states that create, for example, a presumption of joint legal and physical custody.

A legal presumption of joint custody acts to establish both parents as presumptively fit to share the parenting of their children. Presently in Illinois, mothers and fathers fight over who will “win” the custody of the child(ren). States that have enacted presumptive joint custody take the fight out of these cases. These states, of course, leave open the possibility that one parent may challenge the fitness of the other to have shared custody, but at the every least, unlike Illinois, these states do not presume that one parent is to be a winner, and the other a loser, in the custody war.

What I’m hearing is that there are changes being considered to the way child support will be calculated in Illinois, with both parent’s incomes being factored into the support equation. I have not heard much regarding a wholesale change to the custody statutes, and trust that consideration is being given to amending, or tossing altogether, these wrongheaded custody statutes that have engendered so much litigation and bitterness in Illinois.

Good and loving parents should share the parenting of their children, post-divorce.

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