Divorce and Custody Laws to Change in 2016

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Although almost half of married couples experience it, divorce is never easy, and a new Illinois law could make it take a little longer than before.

There will be many changes to the way our courts handle divorces, and one local judge says that although the process will now ask for more from parents, the ones who put in the time, will see the best results.

Starting in 2016, there will no longer be such a thing as custody. Instead, all couples filing for divorce will have to split up parenting responsibilities.

They will pick and choose between medical, religious, educational and extra curricular decisions. They will also have to set a plan, or schedule, so that if there is a future dispute, the judge can easily refer back to it, but, that can take some time.

"The document itself and the provisions to the document have so many different elements to it, it's probably going to take a little bit more time to work through all of these changes so I'm expecting it's going to take longer for parenting issues to work their way through the court system," said 17th Congressional District Associate Judge Joe Bruce.

"There will be information in regards to that each parent have access to medical records of the child, school records of the child and there are a lot of different things that have to be included in each parenting plan," said attorney Laura Baluch. "There's literally 17 different things that the statute states is required now."

Bruce says although it may take longer, the courts will be working as hard as they can to get people through quickly because this is a new law that judges, lawyers and couples will all have to get accustomed with.

The new laws will only be in effect for couples who file for divorce on or after January 1st.

Filing will also be different. People will only be able to claim irreconcilable differences and will no longer have to be separated for at least six months before filling out paperwork.

Parents who want to relocate with their kids will now only be able to move 50 miles instead of anywhere throughout the state.

A group of judges as well as the local bar association are also drafting up example plans for divorcing couples to look over before deciding on their own schedule.

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