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Proposed changes to Illinois child custody laws

12736557_m.jpgIn general, laws need to be updated to reflect societal changes. This is especially true when it comes to family law where there have been many changes over the years, including mothers not automatically being favored when it comes to child custody agreements. However, for change to be effective, lawmakers need to take the time to gather information and propose changes that not only make sense, but are also in the best interests of everyone involved -- parents and children.

Divorce and child custody laws were created in Illinois 35 years ago. Over the past four years, the Family Law Study Committee has been gathering information in order to make changes to these laws. Judges, experts in family law, child advocates and members of the general public were consulted during this time. The judiciary committee to hear about these changes is scheduled for later this week.

Of the proposed changes, there are a few that would affect children and the time they get to spend with their parents. For example, if these changes are approved, children would be allowed to spend at least 35 percent of their time with each of their parents. The thought is this would allow for longer weekends with noncustodial parents and make transitioning a little easier for the entire family.

Another proposed change that would directly affect children is the way child support is set. If these changes are approved, child support would be based on how much both of the parents earn and how much time each parent spends with the children. In some cases, this could end up being an incentive for one parent to not try and reduce visitation time with the other parent.

Lastly, when it comes to children, if these proposed changes are approved, unique decision rights could end up being granted to noncustodial parents. This could end up being a huge benefit to many families as it would take into account that not all child custody situations are the same.

Source: CBS St. Louis, "Illinois House Considers Changes To Divorce Laws," April 15, 2013

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