Understanding Temporary Custody Orders

When a relationship ends, especially a marriage, there are a large number of considerations that must be addressed. In the case of divorce, many of these concerns must be handled legally and under the supervision of the court. Division of marital property, spousal support, and other issues between spouses may be difficult enough, but for divorcing parents, making arrangements regarding their children can be extremely emotional and challenging. As some divorce proceedings drag on, however, decisions must still be made regarding the care and best interest of the children, and without a permanent child custody order in place, it may be unclear as to which parent should be making these decisions. Such a situation may be addressed by means of a motion for temporary custody.

Temporary Custody

The law in Illinois permits either parent (or any other party to a child custody proceeding) to file for a temporary custody order. A temporary order is meant to minimize the impact of the divorce process on the child’s daily life, and would be vacated upon the entering of a permanent order for custody. Once the motion has been filed, the court may award temporary custody based on a number of factors, including:

  • The wishes and possible agreement of both parents;
  • The wishes of the child, depending on age and circumstance;
  • Family relationships and interactions;
  • The existence of violence or abuse and the threat of violence or abuse;
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
  • Health and well-being of all parties; and
  • The parents’ willingness to encourage and facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Potential Concern

While many situations may be genuinely helped by temporary custody orders, there is an important factor parents should consider. A large number of temporary orders create a situation for the child to which he or she becomes quickly acclimated and begins to thrive. This often leads to the temporary order being maintained as the permanent order, as the court would require a significant reason to change the arrangement. Thus, in more contentious cases, one parent may seek to use a temporary custody motion simply as a “head-start” to gain permanent custody of the child, despite the wishes of the other parent.

Qualified Legal Help

If you are facing a difficult child custody dispute and would like more information about temporary custody orders, our team is qualified to help you. Contact an experienced Illinois child custody attorney today for a free consultation, and make sure your rights as a parent continue to be protected.