The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that a separating parent has a right to pursue a temporary parenting arrangement regarding his or her child while working through the divorce process. The temporary parenting agreement—commonly referred to as a temporary custody order—provides security and consistency for the child and both parents during the course of the divorce. The parent who does not receive the majority of the parental responsibilities under this agreement generally receives visitation—now called parenting time—with the child. Temporary child custody agreements can also be adapted into more permanent parental responsibilities arrangements.
What is Temporary Custody?
Recent changes to Illinois law have all but eliminated the use of the term “child custody,” replacing it the more neutral “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Many people, however, still understand orders related to the care of their children as “custody agreements,” and probably will continue to do so for some time.
A temporary child custody order can take six months to complete, from its early filing to the final settlement. While preparing for the final settlement, a temporary custody plan provides the structure for childcare and a steady home for the child until a permanent situation is arranged. Parties may consider other people than themselves or their spouse for custody temporarily, including friends, extended family, grandparents, and godparents.
Temporary Custody Offers Legal Protections
This temporary agreement provides the child and parent with various legal protections. Under this agreement, for example, a parent is generally prohibited from leaving the state with the children. The agreement also gives each parent options for remedy if the other parent does not obey the agreement’s terms. The temporary agreement will also typically contain the intended duration of the order, specifics regarding where the child will live, and information regarding the other parent’s right to parenting time.
Temporary to Permanent
How the temporary custody agreement affects the child’s emotional, physical, and social well-being will be a factor in determining the final parenting agreement. Other factors in determining the permanent placement include both parents’ income and resources, the child’s connection to both families, and the child’s access to educational, extracurricular, and enrichment opportunities, resources, and activities. Traveling back and forth between households, families, schools, and lifestyles can cause significant stress in the child’s life, and family courts like to limit disruption to the children’s routine as much as possible.
If you are considering a separation or divorce, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 847-426-1866 or 630-945-8807 for a confidential consultation with a compassionate member of our team today. We will help you understand the law and your options regarding temporary parenting orders for your child.