All states, including Illinois, maintain similar standards for obtaining sole legal and physical custody of a minor child. Despite similar standards in all 50 states, some minor deviations exist in the manner in which sole custody is established. Illinois law maintains a specific process to permit you to get sole custody in the state. Keep in mind that sole custody is permitted in limited circumstances. Under Illinois law (as is the case across the U.S.) the preferred arrangement is joint custody.
Obtain a form Motion for Sole Custody from the clerk of the circuit court serving the county where the minor child resides. The circuit court clerk maintains a variety of standard forms, including those pertaining to custody issues.
Complete the motion. Set forth the specific reasons why you believe sole custody is appropriate. For example, if the other parent is incarcerated and unavailable to participate in decision-making on behalf of the child and cannot provide any type of residence for the child, sole custody is appropriate.
File the Motion for Sole Custody with the clerk of the circuit court.
Deliver a copy of the motion to the other parent.
Request an initial hearing date on your motion. The clerk of the court or the administrative assistant to the judge assigns the case and schedules the hearing.
Notify the other parent of the date and time of the hearing.
Attend the initial hearing. At this proceeding, the court likely orders a custody evaluation. In most cases when sole custody is sought in Illinois, the law requires an independent custody evaluation by a court-appointed professional.
Obtain the required custody evaluation. Respond to all questions and requests for information by the individual doing the evaluation. The evaluator submits a written report and recommendation to the court.
Attend the final hearing. Be prepared to respond to any questions the court puts forth regarding your desire for sole custody. If the evaluation recommends sole custody, the court likely will issue an order for sole custody.
Consider retaining an attorney to represent you in regard to your Motion for Sole Custody. The Illinois State Bar Association maintains a directory of attorneys in different practice areas, including family and custody law. Contact the organization at:
Illinois State Bar Association Illinois Bar Center 424 S. Second St. Springfield, IL 62701-1779 217-525-1760 isba.org
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