On January 1, 2016, new laws affecting divorces, child custody disputes, and paternity proceedings take place throughout Illinois. Many of these laws were enacted to reflect current societal realities in Illinois and make the process of obtaining a divorce and/or establishing a parent-child relationship easier. But as anyone who has gone through a divorce proceeding or had to have a child custody issue decided by a court can attest, domestic relations disputes are not always resolved quickly. What laws would apply if a person were to file for divorce or initiate a child custody proceeding in 2015 but that proceeding was not ready for a final decision by the court until 2016?
By now many Illinoisans are aware that, come January 1, 2016, family law in Illinois is getting a substantial makeover. “Legal custody” is one familiar legal principle that is being overhauled as part of the legislature’s expansive effort to have Illinois’s family and domestic relations law reflect twenty-first century realities. It remains to be seen, however, if the changes to how a court determines legal custody will benefit Illinois families or whether it will further complicate already-challenging custody determinations.
When you fail to timely enter an appearance or respond to a divorce petition filed against you, a default judgment may be entered against you. By entering a default judgment, the court has determined that although you were provided with an opportunity to respond to the divorce petition and participate in the proceedings, you failed to do so. As a result, the court has concluded that it has no choice but to award the petitioner – your spouse who filed the divorce petition – the relief he or she requested in the petition.
Over the next several weeks, parents throughout Illinois will spend hundreds of dollars (if not more) on holiday gifts for their children – including divorced parents. For some nonresidential parents (that is, parents with whom their children do not reside full-time), the holidays can be an especially trying time, financially speaking. While not wanting to disappoint their children by failing to purchase gifts, many of these nonresidential parents may find it difficult to make lavish purchases for their children because of the nonresidential parent’s child support obligations. Are there circumstances in which amounts spent on gifts or other items for your child can be counted toward your child support amount?