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Illinois Supreme Court makes minor changes to child custody cases

The Illinois Supreme Court recently made several minor changes to state law regarding child custody. 

Mediation is a requirement for all judicial circuits in Illinois. Mediation is a process whereby the two parties in a court case attempt to resolve disagreements with the help of a neutral third party outside of the court system.

For cases tthat involve child custody and visitation, this week the Illinois Supreme Court announced that it would expand mediation rules in child custody cases to allow a parent to request to move to another state with the child in question.

This amended a 2006 law that, among other things, places great emphasis on arriving at a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child, expediting child custody cases and requiring a judge to decide custody no later than 60 days after a hearing or a trial.

The Supreme Court also amended the law so that courts in custody cases must make a good faith effort to find an interpreter when one party is not fluent in english. The court must also look to find a pro bono attorney for a party when it is appropriate.

Finally, the Supreme Court also will now require every judicial circuit to report the number of mediation cases involving custody, visiation and removal situations and report the outcome of those cases. They will also report on the situations where the parties to the mediation were satisfied or dissatisfied with the process.

Mediation can be a beneficial process in a divorce case, but is not always the answer. People involved in a custody dispute in Illinois should consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss the best way to proceed to get the outcome that is in the best interests of the child.

Source: Washington Times Reporter, "Illinois Supreme Court amends select child custody rules," July 2, 2013

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