How to File a Motion for Child Custody in Illinois
- 1). Determine whether you seek a temporary custody order, a permanent (indefinite) custody order or desire to change an existing custody order. A temporary order exists during the time legal proceedings are ongoing. A permanent order is the Illinois legal term for what amounts to an indefinite order. Finally, a change of custody requires a higher standard because Illinois law limits the availability of court ordered custody changes.
- 2). Obtain from the clerk of the circuit court a standard motion for child custody. Make sure that you advise the court clerk's staff whether you are seeking temporary custody, permnanent custody or a change of custody.
- 3). Complete the motion form. Explain why you believe the best interests of the child are achieved by awarding custody to you. Illinois law requires that the focus of a custody proceeding be on the best interests of the child. Factors include which parent historically was the primary caretaker as well as the general physical and mental health of all parties. Other factors include the availability of a party to parent the child effectively and an analysis of which parent is most likely to ensure the non-custodial parent enjoys quality parenting time or visitation with the child.
- 4). Demonstrate the presence of a material change of circumstances if your motion is to change an existing custody order. Material change of circumstances means that the situation with the custodial parent altered to such a degree that the best interests of the child no longer are served by the current custody order.
- 5). File the completed motion with the circuit court clerk.
- 6). Send a copy of the motion to the other parent.