Exit strategyThe Illinois General Assembly has passed a major update to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). If signed by the Governor, the new IMDMA will offer many positive changes for divorcing couples in Illinois.

Here is an outline of proposed changes taken from a recent article in the Illinois Bar Journal by Matthew Hector.


  • Except in cases of irreconcilable differences, the new Act will remove all grounds for divorce previously listed in the IMDMA.

  • The term “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage will automatically be presumed when divorcing parties have lived separate and apart for at least six months.

  • Couples who are in agreement about divorce can now proceed immediately, no six-month waiting period required. Divorcing couples who don’t agree to a six-month waiting period no longer have a mandatory two-year wait for divorce.

  • A judge must enter an order of dissolution within 60 days of the closing of proofs.


  • Emphasis is now on parental responsibility rather than who will get custody of a child.

  • While some decisions (health, religion, and extra-curricular activities) will be shared between both parents, in some cases the responsibility for specific decisions will be granted to the parent who can best make those decisions. For example, a parent who is a teacher might be assigned to make educational choices.

  • The best interests of the child remain paramount.


  • Custodial parents in the following counties can relocate with a child up to 25 miles without court approval: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.

  • Those in other counties can move up to 50 miles without court permission.

  • Any move of 25 miles or less can be across the state line without leave of the court; Illinois courts will retain jurisdiction over custody issues.


  • The court must now provide the reasons for allocation decisions.

  • For marriages of ten years of less, fixed periods can be set during which a maintenance decision cannot be changed by a court order.

  • Allocation decisions are no longer automatically subject to review by either party filing a motion.


  • The following divorce actions will be eliminated in the new IMDMA:

    • Alienation of Affection

    • Breach of Promise to Marry

    • Adultery/Criminal Conversation

Contact me if you would like to learn more about current Illinois family law or the proposed changes to the IMDMA and how they could affect your divorce planning.


Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.