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This article provides an overview of new laws that are set to be enacted on January 1st that impact civil cases. We cover changes to civil causes of action, rather than criminal law.

What changes in the law are in store for Illinois residents for 2022? This article provides an overview of new laws that are set to be enacted on January 1st that impact civil cases. We cover changes to civil causes of action, rather than criminal law. The Illinois legislature was able to get more than 200 hundred bills passed into law by Governor J.B. Pritzker. This article will focus on major civil litigation changes and is not meant to be exhaustive, but a cursory glance at the changes in civil litigation matters.  

New Illinois Appellate Court District

One of the biggest changes for 2022 is the redistricting of the Fourth Appellate Circuit. The Appellate Courts have not been changed since their inception in 1964. The newly re-dran 4th District impacts Northwestern Illinois that covers nearly 275 miles. The 4th District will convene in Springfield. The new Fourth District now includes Peoria County and the counties including the Quad Cities. DuPage County and Winnebago County will now be included in the Fourth District, moving from the Second District.  

Probate and Estate Planning Changes in Illinois

Public Act 102-377 institutes a new statute of repose for estate planning attorneys. A statute of repose is similar to a statute of limitations. Under a statute of repose, certain legal claims will be barred if they are not brought within a specific time frame. Under the new law, if an individual wants to bring an estate planning malpractice claim against an attorney that practices in estate planning, there is now a six-year time limit. If an action is not brought within the six-year period, the claim against the attorney will not be able to proceed due to the statute of repose.  

The Electronic Wills and Remote Witness Act

Public Act 102-167 was passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to bring the law into harmony with the seismic shift that the pandemic has caused. This act allows for probate of electronic wills and wills that were witnessed over telecommunication means, such as Zoom for such purposes. The act also allows for documents other than wills to be executed and witnessed through Zoom and other telecommunication services. This act comports with drastic change in the legal landscape as the COVID-19 pandemic is entering its second year of impairing traditional face-to-face meetings and in-person court sessions.

Changes to the Adult Guardianship Act in Illinois

Public Act 102-72 brings about some clarifying changes to adult guardianship provisions.

  • One of the changes is that separate guardians may now be appointed for the person and the estate of the person;
  • If an individual seeks to revoke a Power of Attorney for an alleged disabled person, the individual must follow the guidelines listed in the Illinois Power of Attorney Act;
  • The change in the law permits guardians, with court approval, may seek reasonable compensation.  

For more information on adult guardianship laws, read our article Illinois Adult Guardianship FAQs.

New Real Estate Covenants in Illinois

Before the advent of the Civil Rights movement, many residential property sellers used restrictive covenants to prevent people from living in certain neighborhoods based on their religious affiliation, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, and other discriminatory factors. Some of these restrictive covenants remain on file with the local county recorder’s office. Public Act 102-110 voids these restrictive covenants under the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Property owners that learn that there are unlawful restrictive covenants recorded at the local county recorder can now seek to modify the restrictive covenants with the recorder’s office. The local county recorder will then forward the case to the local State Attorney's office to determine if the restrictive covenant does violate the Illinois Human Rights Act. If a violation is found, the local recorder will record a modification that removes the offending covenant.  

Changes to Illinois Family Law in 2022

2022 came with a few changes to Illinois family law litigation. The Illinois Dissolution and Marriage Act (IDMA) was modified in the following:

  • Public Act 102-143 amends the IDMA’s temporary orders section to permit a party seeking to relocate with a child if it is in the best interests of the child while the case is still pending.
  • Public Act 102-480 adds another opportunity for a party to collect interim attorney fees. A party can now seek fees from the other party to cover a lawyer’s initial retainer fee to obtain the lawyer’s services. In order for the party to receive interim fees for a retainer, the attorney must submit an affidavit that if the request is granted, the attorney will enter an appearance on behalf of the moving party. Also, the moving party must include a certificate that the interim fees will be used solely for the purposes of retaining a lawyer.  
  • Public Act 102-87 provides a provision that children, regardless of what type of relationship the parents had, will have private or public health insurance at the time child support is calculated. Parents will either have to maintain existing health insurance for the child or seek health insurance.  

For more details on family law changes in 2022, read our article Recent Changes to Illinois Family Law.

Changes to Illinois Business Law 2022

There have been a few changes to previously stated business laws, as well. Among these changes are the following:

  • Public Act 102-230 involves a change in LLC Operating Agreements. No longer can an LLC operating agreement from removing language that the LLC has a duty to act fairly or a duty of care.
  • Public Act 102-282 amends the Business Corporation Act in response to the changes the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. Under the amendment, shareholder meetings may now be remote. It also permits a hybrid shareholder meeting with some in person shareholders and other shareholders remotely participating in the meeting. Learn more about shareholder rights here.

Changes to Illinois School Laws 2022

There have been new laws added in response to a lack of cultural sensitivity and students’ mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Jett Hawkin’s Law stems from a four-year-old Black student that wore his hair in cornrows. The school administrator reported to his mother that his hairstyle was not permitted. This incident caused a public outcry due to insensitivity and lack of understanding of Black hair. The Jett Hawkin’s Law prohibits schools from banning hairstyles such as cornrows, braids, and locks. The law also requires a revision of school handbooks to include that cornrows, braids, and locks are permitted and do not violate any dress code.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on all aspects of daily life. It has been especially difficult for children when schools closed in 2020 and primarily switched to remote learning. Students were deprived of a sense of normalcy as they found their worlds shrinking. They did not have daily interaction with fellow classmates and face-to-face encounters with teachers. Schools are on the brink of closing again due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The harm to students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic drew the attention of the Illinois state legislature. In response to the Covid -19 pandemic, a new law was passed to allow mental health days for public school students. Now, children from ages seven through seventeen may take up to five mental health days without a doctor’s note. This law recognizes the very real mental health crisis of children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you need assistance with a civil litigation matter, contact an experienced lawyer at O’Flaherty Law at (630) 324-6666 or fill out our confidential contact form and a member of our team will be in touch.

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