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The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which governs marriage, divorce, custody, and support in Illinois, is undergoing a major overhaul. Senate Bill 57, which was passed on May 31 and approved by the governor on July 21 of this year, will go into effect on January 1, 2016 and has major implications for many aspects of Illinois family law.

"Heart Balm" Action Implications

Senate Bill 57 eliminates a category of civil actions known as "heart balm" actions, due to the idea that the person bringing the lawsuit is doing so due to a broken heart. Plaintiffs will no longer be able to bring actions for alienation of affection (an action against a third party, such as a spouse's lover or family member, for causing the breakdown of the marriage), breach of promise to marry (an action against a former partner for a broken engagement), or "criminal conversion" (an action for adultery). The Illinois Bar Law Journal noted in their findings that the general assembly pointed to heart balm action as based on antiquated notions of gender roles, and used to harass rather than to mend broken hearts.

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Property Division Without Divorce: Postnuptial Agreements

Illinois postnuptial agreements, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen people consider planning for property division in advance of a separation or divorce, they generally consider prenuptial agreements. However, while The Wall Street Journal has reported an increase in prenuptial agreements since 2010, not all couples take that step before marriage. Couples who decided against a prenuptial agreement but had circumstances change or just wished that they had written down certain income or asset protections have the option of signing a postnuptial agreement.

Prenuptial Agreements vs. Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are appropriate for couples in the same circumstances: individuals with significant premarital assets, couples with significantly different net worth, individuals with business interests, and parents with children from previous relationships. The main difference between the two types of agreements is the time at which they take place. Prenuptial agreements are signed prior to marriage, while postnuptial agreements are signed after the couple has already married.

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