The New Year is officially here and usually, that means new laws. This year is no exception and many of the new laws enacted in 2018 can directly affect your family law case. Here are a few of the new laws that may affect your divorce, parentage, or order of protection case:
Collaborative Divorce: On January 1, 2018, the Illinois Collaborative Process Act (750 ILCS 90/1, et seq.) took effect, which not only codifies the practice of collaborative divorce, but also promotes the use of a more collaborative process in Illinois divorce cases.
Pet Custody: On January 1, 2018, Illinois officially recognized the concept of “pet custody.” Previously, pets were simply treated as property to be divided between the parties. However, pursuant to a new amendment to Section 503 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, now judges may consider “the well-being of the companion animal” in assigning ownership of any pets, provided the pet was acquired during the marriage.
Parental Rights for the Blind Act: On January 1, 2018, the Parental Rights for the Blind Act (750 ILCS 85/1, et seq.) became law. This new Act ensures that blind parents are treated fairly by the court system in determining a parent's parental rights by indicating that “a person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for denial or restriction of parenting time or the allocation of parental responsibilities . . . .”
Victims of Domestic Violence Can Keep Their Cell Numbers: Effective January 1, 2018, Illinois has added a new remedy to Section 214 of the Domestic Violence Act of 1986. In short, a victim of domestic violence can now request the court to allow them to keep their telephone number and can even require the victim's cell phone service provider to transfer the rights to the number to the victim.
Duration of Maintenance: Section 504 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has been amended to shorten the duration of maintenance by provided different multipliers for each year after 6 years of marriage.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I will discuss each of these changes in more detail in further blog posts. Happy New Year!