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New child custody rules in Illinois

A number of the legal rules in Illinois concerning child custody have been amended by the Illinois Supreme Court. The effect of these changes, among other things, will be to increase the availability of a mediation process to cases in which a custodial parent wants to move with the child to another state, even in cases where a noncustodial parent remains in Illinois.

The Illinois Supreme Court first set up a series of new rules on child custody cases back in 2006. The intent was to speed up the prompt handling of child custody cases and to affirm that the legal standard is the best interest of the child. Those rules eliminated the routine granting of continuances in such cases, requiring instead that good cause be shown for any delay. Those rules also mandated that a trial judge reach a decision and issue their ruling two months after the end of a hearing or trial, at the very latest.

Courts throughout Illinois are required to have mediation programs that can be used in child visitation and child custody cases. The new rules will expand efforts to provide interpreters in cases where one or more of the parties communicates in some other language instead of English.

The court is also requiring the reporting of more information about child custody, visitation and removal cases, including statistics about how many such cases were sent to mediation and what the result was. In addition, the court must report how satisfied or dissatisfied the parties were with how the process worked.

The new rules will have an immediate impact on many pending or new child custody and visitation cases. An experienced family law attorney can explain the impact of the new rules on any particular case.

Source: WashingtonTimesReporter, "Illinois Supreme Court amends select child custody rules" No Author Given, Jul. 02, 2013