2019 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Chapter 705 - COURTS
705 ILCS 130/ - Domestic Relations Legal Funding Act.

(705 ILCS 130/1)
Sec. 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Domestic Relations Legal Funding Act.
(Source: P.A. 89-56, eff. 1-1-96.)


(705 ILCS 130/5)
Sec. 5. Legislative findings. The General Assembly finds that the domestic relations area of law frequently involves individuals who are indigent and unable to obtain legal representation; the courts of Illinois are backlogged with both pre-judgment and post-judgment domestic relations cases involving dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, visitation, custody, child support, paternity, and maintenance issues that require numerous court appearances and lengthy hearings caused in part by individuals who are not represented by legal counsel and who do not understand the proceedings; the resolution of these cases where one or both parties have not been represented by counsel results in the unrepresented party not following the court procedures and orders, many times causing multiple court proceedings, leading to costly and time consuming judicial proceedings revolving around the same issues; providing legal representation to the indigent party in domestic relations cases has a great potential for efficiently reducing the volume of matters which burden the court system in this State; there are social and economic benefits in reducing the number of court proceedings in domestic relations cases; many seemingly minor disputes between individuals may escalate into major social and legal problems without the intervention of legal representation and education about the legal system for all parties; there are compelling reasons for providing legal representation to indigent individuals in domestic relations matters; and not-for-profit charitable organizations have in the past and can continue to make a substantial contribution to the expeditious operation and maintenance of the courts in domestic relations cases pending in this State.
(Source: P.A. 89-56, eff. 1-1-96.)


(705 ILCS 130/10)
Sec. 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
"Domestic relations legal charity" means a not-for-profit organization which is exempt from the payment of federal income tax pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and which is organized to provide legal representation at no charge to indigent litigants in domestic relations matters in the county in which the funds have been raised and are to be distributed under this Act.
"Litigant" means an individual, not a business entity, who is actively involved in a pending lawsuit involving a domestic relations matter or is about to file a new lawsuit involving a domestic relations matter in the county in which the funds provided in this Act have been raised and are to be distributed.
"Domestic relations matter" means any civil lawsuit involving dissolution of marriage, legal separation, declaration of invalidity of marriage, child custody, child visitation, child support, paternity, orders of protection, or children's rights issues.
(Source: P.A. 89-56, eff. 1-1-96.)


(705 ILCS 130/15)
Sec. 15. Fund; fee; administration.
(a) In judicial circuits which include a county with a population of over 650,000 and less than 1,000,000 inhabitants, a domestic relations legal fund may be established by any such county by the passage of an ordinance by the county board.
(b) In each judicial circuit in which the county board has enacted an ordinance authorizing a domestic relations legal fund to be established, the county board shall set a fee to be collected by the clerk of the circuit court on all civil case filings of not less than $1 nor more than $8 to be paid by the plaintiff at the time of the filing of the case and by the defendant at the time of filing an appearance. The county board shall review the amount of the fee on an annual basis and shall increase the amount of the fee, not to exceed the $8 maximum, if the demand for legal representation requires additional funding.
(c) In each judicial circuit in which the county board has enacted an ordinance authorizing the domestic relations legal fund to be established, the clerk of the circuit court shall charge and collect a domestic relations legal fund fee as established by the county ordinance, such fee to be paid by the parties to the action at the time of filing the first pleading in all civil cases. Such fees shall not be charged in any proceeding commenced by or on behalf of a unit of local government.
Such fees shall be in addition to all other fees and charges of such clerks, shall be assessable as costs, and shall be remitted by such clerks monthly to the county treasurers, and shall be disbursed monthly by the county treasurer to the domestic relations legal fund established under this Section. Each such clerk shall commence such charges and collections upon receipt of written notice from the county board of the judicial circuit that a domestic relations legal fund has been established.
(d) Each domestic relations legal fund established under this Section shall be administered by the Chief Judge of the judicial circuit in which the fund is established.
(Source: P.A. 89-56, eff. 1-1-96.)


(705 ILCS 130/20)
Sec. 20. Grant disbursements.
(a) Subject to the supervisory authority of the Supreme Court, the Chief Judge of each judicial circuit in which a domestic relations legal fund has been established shall annually make grant disbursements from the fund to domestic relations legal charities that handle domestic relations matters within the judicial circuit which meet the criteria in this Section.
(b) Disbursements by the Chief Judge shall be made to qualified domestic relations legal charities that operate exclusively within a judicial circuit based on each charity's proportionate share of the total number of domestic relations cases handled, without collecting a fee or charge from the indigent litigant, by all qualified domestic relations legal charities in that circuit during the year prior to application.
(c) In no event shall the disbursements to any domestic relations legal charity in one year exceed $500,000. Any amounts collected under Section 15 but not disbursed in a particular year shall:
(1) in single-county judicial circuits, be paid to

the county treasurer for the administration of justice in the judicial circuit; and

(2) in judicial circuits of more than one county, be

paid to the county treasurers of each county of the judicial circuit for the administration of justice in the judicial circuit, in amounts in proportion to the amounts of the disbursements made by each of the county treasurers to the fund during that year.

(Source: P.A. 89-56, eff. 1-1-96.)


(705 ILCS 130/25)
Sec. 25. Rules.
(a) Subject to the supervisory authority of the Supreme Court, the Chief Judge of each judicial circuit in which a domestic relations legal fund has been established shall make rules pertaining to the operation and standards to be adhered to by the domestic relations legal charity in that judicial circuit in order to qualify for funding. Such rules shall provide for the following:
(1) Each domestic relations legal charity applying

for funding shall report the number of cases which have been successfully resolved in each of the 5 preceding years.

(2) All legal work performed by the domestic

relations legal charity, its staff attorneys, and volunteer attorneys shall be performed without collecting a fee or charge from the indigent clients.

(3) Each domestic relations legal charity receiving

funding under this Act shall maintain records and, subject to attorney-client confidentiality, the records shall be available for inspection by the office of the Chief Judge of the judicial circuit and shall demonstrate adherence to applicable requirements.

(b) Subject to the supervisory authority of the Supreme Court, the Chief Judge of each judicial circuit in which a domestic relations legal fund has been established may make additional rules necessary for the operation of this Act in that judicial circuit.
(Source: P.A. 89-56, eff. 1-1-96.)


(705 ILCS 130/30)
Sec. 30. Confidentiality. All memoranda, work products, and other matters contained in any case files of a domestic relations legal charity, its staff attorneys, and volunteer attorneys in representing any client which are not part of the public record in the court file are subject to the attorney-client confidential relationship and as such shall not be available for examination, except for matters involving review of that relationship.
(Source: P.A. 89-56, eff. 1-1-96.)


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