Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB4121
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Full Text of HB4121  102nd General Assembly




State of Illinois
2021 and 2022


Introduced 9/3/2021, by Rep. Maurice A. West, II


750 ILCS 5/506  from Ch. 40, par. 506

    Amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Requires any individual serving in the role of guardian ad litem or child representative to meet with both parties and the child every 90 days. Provides that the first meeting shall occur within 90 days of appointment and a meeting shall occur in every subsequent 90-day period until the conclusion of the case. Requires the guardian ad litem or child representative to file with the court, within 90 days of his or her appointment and once in every subsequent 90-day period during the course of his or her representation, a document confirming that the guardian ad litem or child representative has met with both parties.

LRB102 19262 LNS 28028 b





HB4121LRB102 19262 LNS 28028 b

1    AN ACT concerning civil law.
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4    Section 5. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of
5Marriage Act is amended by changing Section 506 as follows:
6    (750 ILCS 5/506)  (from Ch. 40, par. 506)
7    Sec. 506. Representation of child.
8    (a) Duties. In any proceedings involving the support,
9custody, visitation, allocation of parental responsibilities,
10education, parentage, property interest, or general welfare of
11a minor or dependent child, the court may, on its own motion or
12that of any party, appoint an attorney to serve in one of the
13following capacities to address the issues the court
15        (1) Attorney. The attorney shall provide independent
16    legal counsel for the child and shall owe the same duties
17    of undivided loyalty, confidentiality, and competent
18    representation as are due an adult client.
19        (2) Guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem shall
20    testify or submit a written report to the court regarding
21    his or her recommendations in accordance with the best
22    interest of the child. The report shall be made available
23    to all parties. The guardian ad litem may be called as a



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1    witness for purposes of cross-examination regarding the
2    guardian ad litem's report or recommendations. The
3    guardian ad litem shall investigate the facts of the case
4    and interview the child and the parties.
5        (3) Child representative. The child representative
6    shall advocate what the child representative finds to be
7    in the best interests of the child after reviewing the
8    facts and circumstances of the case. The child
9    representative shall meet with the child and the parties,
10    investigate the facts of the case, and encourage
11    settlement and the use of alternative forms of dispute
12    resolution. The child representative shall have the same
13    authority and obligation to participate in the litigation
14    as does an attorney for a party and shall possess all the
15    powers of investigation as does a guardian ad litem. The
16    child representative shall consider, but not be bound by,
17    the expressed wishes of the child. A child representative
18    shall have received training in child advocacy or shall
19    possess such experience as determined to be equivalent to
20    such training by the chief judge of the circuit where the
21    child representative has been appointed. The child
22    representative shall not disclose confidential
23    communications made by the child, except as required by
24    law or by the Rules of Professional Conduct. The child
25    representative shall not render an opinion,
26    recommendation, or report to the court and shall not be



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1    called as a witness, but shall offer evidence-based legal
2    arguments. The child representative shall disclose the
3    position as to what the child representative intends to
4    advocate in a pre-trial memorandum that shall be served
5    upon all counsel of record prior to the trial. The
6    position disclosed in the pre-trial memorandum shall not
7    be considered evidence. The court and the parties may
8    consider the position of the child representative for
9    purposes of a settlement conference.
10    (a-3) Additional appointments. During the proceedings the
11court may appoint an additional attorney to serve in the
12capacity described in subdivision (a)(1) or an additional
13attorney to serve in another of the capacities described in
14subdivision (a)(2) or (a)(3) on the court's own motion or that
15of a party only for good cause shown and when the reasons for
16the additional appointment are set forth in specific findings.
17    (a-5) Appointment considerations. In deciding whether to
18make an appointment of an attorney for the minor child, a
19guardian ad litem, or a child representative, the court shall
20consider the nature and adequacy of the evidence to be
21presented by the parties and the availability of other methods
22of obtaining information, including social service
23organizations and evaluations by mental health professions, as
24well as resources for payment.
25    In no event is this Section intended to or designed to
26abrogate the decision making power of the trier of fact. Any



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1appointment made under this Section is not intended to nor
2should it serve to place any appointed individual in the role
3of a surrogate judge.
4    (b) Fees and costs. The court shall enter an order as
5appropriate for costs, fees, and disbursements, including a
6retainer, when the attorney, guardian ad litem, or child's
7representative is appointed. Any person appointed under this
8Section shall file with the court within 90 days of his or her
9appointment, and every subsequent 90-day period thereafter
10during the course of his or her representation, a detailed
11invoice for services rendered with a copy being sent to each
12party. The court shall review the invoice submitted and
13approve the fees, if they are reasonable and necessary. Any
14order approving the fees shall require payment by either or
15both parents, by any other party or source, or from the marital
16estate or the child's separate estate. The court may not order
17payment by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services in
18cases in which the Department is providing child support
19enforcement services under Article X of the Illinois Public
20Aid Code. Unless otherwise ordered by the court at the time
21fees and costs are approved, all fees and costs payable to an
22attorney, guardian ad litem, or child representative under
23this Section are by implication deemed to be in the nature of
24support of the child and are within the exceptions to
25discharge in bankruptcy under 11 U.S.C.A. 523. The provisions
26of Sections 501 and 508 of this Act shall apply to fees and



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1costs for attorneys appointed under this Section.
2    (c) Responsibilities. Any individual serving in the role
3of guardian ad litem or child representative is required to
4meet with both parties and the child every 90 days. The first
5meeting shall occur within 90 days of appointment. A meeting
6shall occur in every subsequent 90-day period until the
7conclusion of the case. The guardian ad litem or child
8representative shall file with the court, within 90 days of
9his or her appointment and once in every subsequent 90-day
10period during the course of his or her representation, a
11document, signed by both parties and the guardian ad litem or
12child representative, confirming that the guardian ad litem or
13child representative has met with both parties.
14(Source: P.A. 99-90, eff. 1-1-16.)