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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 17884
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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In Illinois is there a way to reopen a family law civil case

Customer Question

In Illinois is there a way to reopen a family law civil case where you had an attorney that withheld evidence critical to the case? My ex was given full custody and allowed to remove our children from the state last year. One year prior to that she removed the children without permission and was ordered to return herself and our children to IL and to reside in IL or I would be named primary custodian by a different judge of the same court. The change of judge was due to shuffling of judges at the courthouse. The new judge refused to follow the previous ruling. He actually stated that he didn't hear that case when I tried to dismiss her pleadings. The first case I fought pro se and obviously won. The second time I hired a lawyer thinking he might be able to give some finality to the issue. She was allowed to introduce evidence that was heard in the prior case and I was not. My lawyer also failed to present evidence that I had provided to him and did an all around terrible job.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.
You can always file a Motion to Modify in a family law case but your burden is greatly increased if it has been less than a year since the order was entered.
However, if your husband moved out of the state with the children last year then the new state would have jurisdiction now and if you file a motion in IL he is going to respond with a Motion to Dismiss an argue that IL has now lost jurisdiction and the case must be filed in the new state.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My ex would be my ex wife. In IL thenlaw states that two years must pass before you can petition to change custody. The judge stated that IL would retain jurisdiction. Your answers were of no help. I need to know if there is a way to go back due to my previous attorney's malpractice/
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 1 year ago.
There is a difference between petitioning to change custody, which isn't what you asked, and re-opening the case on any issue at all.
However, I'm going to opt out rather than argue about whether IL continues to have jurisdiction since the judge's pronouncement is in violation of the UCJEA and I know what is about to happen because I've seen it happen repeatedly.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello: This isCustomer I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.
I am sorry, but I do not see how you can reopen the case since you have already appealed and lost. You have specific time to appeal from the adverse decision or forever lose your right to appeal the issue. If the time for your appeal has passed (appeal deadline is stated on the Notice from the Court), you do not get a second chance to appeal because your Attorney did not do a good a job appealing the adverse decision.
If you think that your Attorney committed legal malpractice, then you need to pursue a claim against the Attorney.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I know he is guilty of legal malpractice but it takes money that I don't have to go after him and it wouldn't help the main concern...my children. It is hard to believe that the law allows a lawyer to do a terrible job and provide no relief to the victims. At any rate, I think IL wil still have jurisdiction because 6 months hasn't passed since the ruling on the appeal was filed. Am I correct in that?
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I know he is guilty of legal malpractice but it takes money that I don't have to go after him and it wouldn't help the main concern...my children. It is hard to believe that the law allows a lawyer to do a terrible job and provide no relief to the victims. At any rate, I think IL wil still have jurisdiction because 6 months hasn't passed since the ruling on the appeal was filed. Am I correct in that?
Response: Yes. Also, under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”), the state maintains its continuing jurisdiction of the children even if the children have left the state. See 750 ILCS 36/:
http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ChapterID=59&ActID=2497
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I have read both 750 ILCS 36 and the UCCJEA. What I got out of it is after 6 months from the last ruling the new state acquires jurisdiction. The previous attorney that reponded on here was talking about that. Could you give a more specific reference so I know which part of 750 ILCS 36 you are talking about? I'm about to file petitions in IL. Just in case she objects based on jurisdiction, I want to make sure I can reference the appropriate law. Thank you.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
I have read both 750 ILCS 36 and the UCCJEA. What I got out of it is after 6 months from the last ruling the new state acquires jurisdiction. The previous attorney that reponded on here was talking about that. Could you give a more specific reference so I know which part of 750 ILCS 36 you are talking about? I'm about to file petitions in IL. Just in case she objects based on jurisdiction, I want to make sure I can reference the appropriate law. Thank you.
Response: See 750 ILCS 36/ Article 2 Section 202
{750 ILCS 36/202)
Sec. 202. Exclusive, Continuing Jurisdiction.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 204, a court of this State which has made a child-custody determination consistent with Section 201 or 203 has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination until:
(1) a court of this State determines that neither the
child, the child's parents, and any person acting as a parent do not have a significant connection with this State and that substantial evidence is no longer available in this State concerning the child's care, protection, training, and personal relationships; or
(2) a court of this State or a court of another state
determines that the child, the child's parents, and any person acting as a parent do not presently reside in this State.
(b) A court of this State which has made a child-custody determination and does not have exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under this Section may modify that determination only if it has jurisdiction to make an initial determination under Section 201.