In this article, we will explain Illinois temporary child custody orders, which allocate parenting time and responsibility until a final order is entered by the court. Prior to 2016, courts used the terms “custody” and “visitation.” Since 2016, Illinois courts now use the terms “allocation of parenting time and responsibility” instead. In this article, we will use the terms interchangeably.
Before a final order allocating parenting time and responsibility can be entered, the parties must have an opportunity to conduct written discovery and depositions and ultimately hold a trial. The purpose of a temporary order allocating parenting time and responsibility is to determine parenting issues until such time as a final parenting order can be entered.
Temporary allocation of parenting time and responsibility is initiated by one of the parties filing a petition with the clerk of court seeking a temporary allocation order. At the time of filing, the clerk will assign a hearing time and location. The petition, along with notice of the hearing time and location, must be properly served on the other party.
At the hearing, both parties will present evidence for each of their positions. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court will enter an order setting forth how parenting time and responsibility will work for a limited time period or until such time as a final order can be entered on the subject.
If both parties agree to the terms of the temporary order, a hearing is not necessary. Rather, the court can enter the temporary allocation order based on the affidavits of one or both of the parties.
Courts determine temporary allocation of parenting time and responsibility on the same basis that is used for final orders. The court will seek to determine the parenting arrangement that will be in the best interests of the child. Courts are directed to weigh several factors listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and commonly also review additional factors set by case law precedent. For a full discussion of these factors, check out our article: Factors Courts Consider in Determining Child Custody Issues.
One difference between a final custody order and a temporary custody order is that courts are not required to lay out specific findings explaining the basis of their decision in temporary custody orders as they are in final orders.
More importantly, temporary custody orders are easier to modify than final orders. For this reason, courts are sometimes required to determine whether an order is temporary or final. This depends on what the order says, not what it is called. The test is whether the parties and the court intended the order to continue indefinitely without the expectation that an additional hearing would be held.
Final allocation judgments require the party seeking to modify the order to meet a very high burden of proof in order to be successful. To learn more about this, check out our article: How to Change Parental Responsibilities and Child Custody in Illinois. If a party seeks to modify a temporary custody order, they simply need to show by a preponderance of the evidence that modification of the order is in the best interests of the child.
For a more general article on the various types of temporary orders available in divorce, check out: Temporary Relief Petitions in Illinois Divorce.