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Material Illinois family law changes legally kick in tomorrow

Out with the old and in with the new. That well-worn adage applies in wide-ranging fashion from nearly everything from athletic shoes to curtains.

And it is also applicable to divorce.

We presaged "important adjustments" in the realm of Illinois family law in a recent blog post, noting in our November 6 entry a number of material changes in the state's Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (MDMA) slated to take legal effect from January 1, 2016.

That turns out to be tomorrow. Because, as noted in an article discussing new family law modifications in Illinois, the MDMA changes "will affect everyone filing for divorce in Illinois," we would like to ensure that our readers across the state are well apprised of material developments.

We already touched upon some important points in the above-cited entry, noting some substantive reworking of state child custody laws (read visitation, parental responsibilities and parenting time).

In addition to some fundamental tweaking in that area, though, the Illinois General Assembly made other changes, as well.

One focuses on terminology and appreciation for changed societal mores and realities. Going forward in family law-related matters, the terms husband and wife will be changed to "spouse" and "spouses" as appropriate, evidencing a more gender-neutral approach and tacitly acknowledging the increased commonality of gay marriages.

Child support and spousal maintenance (alimony) formulas have also been reconfigured, with modifications in the former area still being worked out.

"It's a little confusing," says one commentator noting the support adjustments, "but we will get the hang of it."

That MDMA analyst makes an additional point that she says is important, given all the material changes that will take effect.

"Go see a lawyer way before you file to protect your rights and yourself," she states.

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