The Illinois Supreme Court adopted new rules, effective July 1, 2006,
pertaining to divorces where children were either born or adopted
during the course of the marriage and to child custody proceedings in
general.  These rules are set forth below:

  • Parenting Education Requirement.  If children were born or
    adopted  during the course of the marriage, Rule 924 requires
    the parents to attend an approved parenting education

  • Case Management Conferences.  A case management
    conference is a court date wherein the case is discussed
    between the judge and counsel familiar with the case and
    authorized to act on behalf of the client.  Case Management
    Conferences were created by Supreme Court Rule 218 which
    sets forth the manner in which the conference is to be
    conducted.  However, Rule 923 imposes additional
    requirements beyond Rule 218 in divorces involving children
    (either born to or adopted by the divorcing couple) and
    shortens the initial case management conference deadline to
    no later than 90 days after service of the complaint (divorce
    petition).  Further, Rule 923 requires discussion of the
    parenting education class, the filing of an agreed order for
    custody and visitation (see custody/visitation - agreed below),
    or ordering mediation if custody/visitation is contested (see
    custody/visitation - contested) and either a trial or another case
    management conference must be scheduled.

  • Time Limitations.  Rule 921 sets all child custody deadlines at
    18 months from the date of the service on the petition to final
    order.  Extensions can only occur if the court makes specific
    findings to allow the extension.

  • Mediation.  Rule 905 requires all divorcing parents who do not
    reach agreement on all issues pertaining to custody and
    visitation are required to attend mediation in an attempt to
    resolve these issues.  The time constraints for mediation are
    set forth in Rule 923(a)(3).  The minimum mediation
    requirements are set forth in Rule 99(b)(2).