How to File for Custody in Illinois

By Valerie Stevens

The first step in filing for custody in Illinois is to determine if you have the legal right to seek custody. Any noncustodial parent has the right to seek custody of his child under Illinois law. A nonparent, such as a grandparent, can file for custody only if the child is not in the physical custody of one or both parents. In all custody cases, the standard for deciding who can have custody is the "best interests of the child."

The first step in filing for custody in Illinois is to determine if you have the legal right to seek custody. Any noncustodial parent has the right to seek custody of his child under Illinois law. A nonparent, such as a grandparent, can file for custody only if the child is not in the physical custody of one or both parents. In all custody cases, the standard for deciding who can have custody is the "best interests of the child."

Step 1

Verify you can file for custody in Illinois. You can file in Illinois if it is the home state of the child, in most circumstances. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which applies in Illinois, dictates which state you can file in.

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Step 2

Determine which county in Illinois to file in. If you are filing for custody as part of a divorce, jurisdiction is determined by where you file for divorce. If you are filing under other circumstances, usually you have to file in the county where the child lives. Consult Illinois Combined Statutes Section 750, Part VI Custody, for detailed information on jurisdiction.

Step 3

Draft a petition for custody or include a request for custody if you are filing as part of another action. A parent can request custody in Illinois in a petition for custody; petition for dissolution of a marriage; petition for dissolution of a civil union, if the child was adopted; paternity petition; or a petition for protection.

Step 4

Include in your petition information about the factors that govern child custody decisions, as detailed in the Illinois statutes. For example, the court will consider the parents' wishes; child's wishes; child's adjustment to her present home and relationship with both parents; one parent's attitude toward cooperating with the other parent; health of all parties; instances of abuse or violence; and whether any party is a sex offender.

Step 5

Obtain and complete a UCCJEA affidavit. State all the places where the child has lived, who else lived there, the primary caretaker in each location and any court cases that involved the child. You can find a sample form by conducting an Internet search or requesting it from an online legal document provider.

Step 6

Fill out a summons and cover sheet, both of which you can obtain from the clerk of court in the county where you are filing. The summons must provide information to the other party about where he should respond to your petition.

Step 7

Make sure your petition is properly verified, which means you sign it in the presence of a notary public or an attorney signs the forms for you.

Step 8

File your cover sheet, summons, petition and UCCJEA affidavit with the clerk of court and pay the required filing fee. Obtain a file-stamped copy of the documents to serve on the other party, as well as a document called an affidavit of service.

Step 9

Serve the documents on the other parent by hiring a sheriff's deputy or private process server. The deputy or private process server will fill out the affidavit of service at the bottom of the summons and return it to you.

Step 10

File the summons with the signed affidavit of service with the clerk of court. Keep a copy so you will have a record of when the other party was served.

Step 11

Request a hearing and wait for the other party to respond within the 30 days allowed.

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How to Petition for Custody

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How to File for Child Custody in Georgia

Child custody lawsuits can be contentious and emotionally charged. Before filing for child custody or visitation in Georgia, it's important to think about your child's needs. Except in extreme cases of neglect or abuse, children typically thrive under a joint custody arrangement. In Georgia, the Uniform Child Custody Act of 1978 established statewide standards for child custody proceedings. Each county can institute slightly different procedures, but the goal of protecting children's best interests, and the emphasis on mediation and negotiation rather than contentious litigation, is the same throughout the state. You can file for custody without an attorney, and many Georgia courts provide forms for parents to file themselves. An online document service can also provide you state and county-specific forms. If you plan on taking your custody fight to court, it is wise to hire an attorney who can advocate for you.

How to Apply for Sole Custody in Baltimore, Maryland

In some cases, sole legal custody or sole physical custody is in the best interests of a child. For a parent wishing to establish or modify custody in Baltimore, Maryland, the first step involves communicating to the court the specific reasons for the proposed arrangement. The other parent must then be made aware of the proceedings, and the parties can attempt to reach an agreement. If no agreement is reached, the court will make a determination based on what the judge believes is in the child's best interest.

How to File for Custody of a Minor in Mobile, Alabama

Custody disputes commonly arise as the result of divorce or paternity proceedings. The Alabama legislature has enacted laws governing petitions for custody, and custody proceedings are heard by judges in the Alabama family court system. In Mobile, parents must petition the family court in the 13th Judicial Circuit. Before seeking custody of a child, you should ensure that you are able to provide loving, competent care. In most cases, the child will do best if given liberal visitation with the other parent. Except in cases of abuse, children are frequently given time with both parents.

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