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Bill proposes big changes to child custody in Illinois

Makeovers sometimes seem to be all the rage and are often featured in TV shows and movies, transforming an otherwise fashion-backwards individual into a more conventional beauty. People aren't the only things that can undergo a somewhat drastic transformation, as evidenced by the recent bill that proposes changes to divorce and child custody in Illinois. Originally passed in 1977, there were some who felt that that the law pertaining to the divorce process was long overdue for an update. 

One of the main concerns that most parents have is how custody of the kids will be handled. Will there be shared physical custody, or will one parent retain primary custody? Are both parents of sound mind to share legal custody to make important decisions concerning the children's health care and education? While some of these concerns will likely still be addressed, the whole premise of child custody is out of the window with this bill.

Instead of creating a child custody plan, courts would be able to consider various parental responsibilities and then assign them to one party accordingly. Some believe that eliminating child custody plans in favor of shared responsibilities will help cut down on the battle to "win" a custody dispute. Additionally, the bill would also erase the need to have to go before a judge and validate the need for a divorce. When two parents are not forced to speak ill of the other in court, it can potentially help keep the lines of communication open and encourage better shared parenting skills.

The bill is not without opposition, and a group that lobbies against the right to get divorced said that this type of change would make getting a divorce too simple. While no changes are on the menu yet, it is understandable that some people want to make the process smoother and easier for parents, which can ultimately be in the best interest of the children. However, the proposed changes are still only a bill and cannot be enacted unless passed through the Illinois state senate and then signed by the governor. Until such a time, parents should still be prepared to engage in necessary actions -- such as mediation or litigation -- in order to hammer out the best possible child custody agreement.

Source: illinoistimes.com, "Lawmakers move to update divorce, child custody law", Alan Kozeluh, March 5, 2015

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