INTERVENING IN A CHILD PROTECTION DIVISION CASE

At times, an adult other than a minor’s child may choose to intervene in the minor’s child protection matter. Usually, this the party seeking to intervene is the child’s grandparent or other close relative.

Pursuant to the Juvenile Court Act, a person has the conditional right to intervene in a court proceeding if they are a current or previous foster parent, a relative caregiver, or a representative of an agency or association. Additionally, the authority to intervene is set forth in section 2-408 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 110, par. 2-408). This provides that the court in its discretion may allow a party to intervene if a statute confers a conditional right to intervene, or if the applicant’s claim or defense and the main action have a question of law or fact in common. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1987, ch. 110, par. 2-408(b)).

The purpose of intervention is to expedite litigation by disposing of the entire controversy among the persons involved in one action to prevent a multiplicity of actions. Bishop v. Village of Brookfield, 99 Ill.App.3d 483, 487, 54 Ill.Dec. 896, 899, 425 N.E.2d 1113, 1116 (1981). Before a party is allowed to intervene, that party must show that it has an enforceable or recognizable right, not simply a general interest, in the subject matter. In re Adoption of Ruiz, 164 Ill.App.3d 1036, 1040, 115 Ill.Dec. 911, 914, 518 N.E.2d 436, 439 (1987). This decision lies in the sound discretion of the trial court and, unless there is a clear abuse of that discretion, the court’s judgment thereon will not be disturbed. Mississippi Bluff Motel, Inc. v. County of Rock Island, 96 Ill.App.3d 31, 35, 51 Ill.Dec. 334, 338, 420 N.E.2d 748, 752 (1981).

Generally, a party desiring to intervene must show that at one time they had custody and control over the minor. It is up to your attorney to argue and illustrate this point as it is a threshold issue.

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