When deciding to end their marriage, no couple hopes that the divorce will be a long and drawn-out process. Instead, most approach the situation looking to come to some sort of resolution quickly and with minimal difficulty. Unfortunately, in many cases, an efficient and low-stress dissolution is not possible and the case drags on for weeks and months. When such a case involves children, it may be necessary to establish temporary arrangements for custody, so that their best interests may be protected despite the ongoing proceedings.
Temporary Custody Petitions
While litigation for divorce or permanent child custody arrangements continue, either parent may petition the court for an order of temporary custody. This may be done in an effort to help the child enroll in school, establish a visitation schedule, and address a number of other possible issues.
In determining temporary custody, the court must take into account the same factors as in a permanent custody proceeding. By law, these include, but are not limited to: the wishes of each parent, the wishes of the child with appropriate maturity level, and the child’s adjustment to his or her home and school community. In addition, the child’s interaction and likelihood of a continued relationship with each parent must also be considered. Based on such considerations, the court may award temporary custody to one parent, allowing the other parent rights of visitation, or to both parents jointly.
One of the major concerns that many parents have with temporary custody orders is that they often transition into a permanent order. According to the law, there is no requirement for a temporary order to remain in place indefinitely. In practice, however, and particularly in cases where the parents are struggling to agree on a permanent order, the temporary order establishes a new norm to which the child quickly becomes accustomed. Since one of the considerations for a custody decision involves the child’s acclimation to home, school, and community, the court would need to be presented with justification that upsetting the new norm is in the child’s best interest. Absent such evidence, the temporary order is very likely to remain in effect.
With the possibility that temporary custody order will become permanent, it is important for both parents to take the temporary proceedings very seriously. If you are considering a petition for temporary custody or the other parent has already filed one, you need the help of a lawyer who understands your situation. Contact the experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C.. We will work with you in protecting your child’s best interest both in temporary and permanent custody proceedings.