Marital agreementIllinois couples with children who are planning a divorce now or in the near future should note that Illinois divorce laws will change on January 1, 2016.

The new Illinois Divorce Act will likely have a significant impact on how your divorce is ultimately resolved.


There are three primary aims of the newly updated Illinois Divorce Act:

  1. To protect children from exposure to conflict and violence during the divorce process;

  2. To recognize and enforce the right of children to continue a healthy relationship with both parents post-divorce;

  3. To expressly uphold that frequent contact with both parents–absent domestic violence or other harmful factors–promotes the healthy development of children.


To honor and achieve these stated goals, the Illinois Court will:

  • Promote or order parents to participate in educational programs so they learn how to minimize the negative effects of divorce litigation.

  • Facilitate parental planning discussions, including explicit allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, to help reach a mutual agreement about the children’s upbringing after the divorce, including child custody and visitation.

  • Safeguard the continuation of existing parent-child relationships to ensure each parent’s maximum involvement in the well-being of their children.


If you want to avoid the impact of these new laws on your divorce, you must ensure that it is finalized by December 31, 2015. Any matter currently pending that has not entered a final judgement before January 1, 2016, and any new matter filed after that date, will need to comply with the updated laws.

An experienced DuPage County divorce attorney trained in divorce mediation can help divorcing or already divorced parents to create an Allocation Judgement that complies with the new Illinois divorce laws as well as the spirit and purpose of the new Divorce Act.

Contact me if you need assistance and support navigating through these restructured laws.


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.