Every state has a default effective date for new laws. The date generally falls a couple of months after the legislature adjourns, to give agencies a chance to write any necessary regulations and, of course, to simplify the lawmaking process; it may or may not coincide with the beginning of the state's fiscal year. In certain circumstances, the bill will take effect "immediately," as soon as the governor signs it.
A number of new laws went into effect in Illinois on Jan. 1 that relate to families and family law. One of our favorites is HB0129, the law allowing school boards all over the state to declare the first Monday of October "Take Your Parents to School Day." The objective is to foster greater parental involvement in the schools and, of course, in their children's education.
A federal judge issued a ruling on Dec. 16, 2013, that cleared the way for same-sex couples with special circumstances to marry now, instead of waiting until the official June 1, 2014, effective date of Illinois' Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. The decision only applies to couples if one partner has been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
It was a moment of triumph for same-sex marriage advocates when Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act last month. For some couples, though, one provision of the law was troublesome: the June 1, 2014, effective date. They wondered why they had to wait.
Ask a group of people living in Illinois or any other state and you're bound to find someone who believes that there's too much divorce going around. Whether that sentiment is fueled by religious beliefs or nostalgia, many feel that couples who opt for divorce simply haven't tried hard enough to make their relationship work.
Sexual assault charges against an Illinois man put him in jail two years ago. The state chose to set the criminal charges aside in order to pursue a civil commitment. Toward the end of November, a jury concluded that the man is a sexually dangerous person. He will soon move to the sex offender unit at a state facility.