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Illinois Child Custody Appeals Explained | Appealing Allocation of Parenting Time and Responsibility

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
October 28, 2019

In this article we will explain appeals of child custody and parenting time orders orders in Illinois. We answer the questions “what types of court orders can you appeal in Illinois?” and “when are child custody orders appealable in Illinois?”  We also explain how to appeal temporary child custody orders in Illinois and the expedited procedure for child custody appeals.

To learn more about Illinois parenting laws generally, check out our article: Illinois Parenting Laws Explained.

What Types of Court Orders Can You Appeal in Illinois?

The general rule is that you have an automatic right to appeal final civil judgments from the circuit court to the Illinois Appellate Court.  Final judgments are judgments that adjudicate all claims as to all parties in the case.  Generally, if the court enters an order disposing of some but not all of the claims in a case, the order is only immediately appealable if the court makes an explicit finding that there is no just reason for delaying either enforcement of the order or appeal of the order.  

For more on Illinois appeals generally, check out The Illinois Appeal Process Explained.

When Are Child Custody Orders are Appealable in Illinois?

Because lawmakers want to provide permanence and stability to children in custody cases as quickly as possible, the Supreme Court Rules carve out an exception to the general rule that only orders adjudicating all claims in a case are appealable without a special finding of the trial court.  

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306(b) states that orders relating to custody and parenting time are immediately appealable without a special finding by the trial court even if they are entered prior to other matters in the case, such as spousal maintenance and property division, are resolved.  However, this exception to the rule that a special finding is required to appeal an order that doesn’t resolve all claims is limited to final custody judgments, as opposed to temporary or interim orders.  

Orders modifying parenting time and responsibility are also immediately appealable.  To learn more about modification of parenting time and responsibility, check out our article: How to Change Parental Responsibility and Child Custody in Illinois.

How to Appeal Temporary Child Custody Orders in Illinois

Although temporary child custody orders are not appealable as a matter of right, Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(5) provides that parties may petition the appellate court for leave to appeal temporary orders that affect the custody and care of children or the allocation of parental responsibilities.  This is an option that is not available for temporary orders in most other contexts.  

Expedited Procedure for Child Custody Appeals

In the interest of quickly establishing a permanent environment for the child, child custody appeals are expedited.  In addition to faster deadlines within the case, the appellate court is required to decide child custody appeals within 150 days of filing.

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