Types of Orders in Illinois Custody Cases

Courts can issue a variety of orders in custody cases.

Orders of protection set parameters to shield a child from harm, while custody orders legally mandate how parental responsibilities and parenting time are allocated.

Find more information on emergency, temporary and final versions of both below.

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Emergency orders

A custody case can have two types of emergency orders: emergency orders of protection and emergency custody orders.

To successfully request either type of order, you must prove why it's necessary, keeping in mind that the judge will only consider information directly related to the emergency.

When issuing an emergency order, the judge will schedule a later hearing to decide whether to extend it, terminate it or replace it with a temporary order.

Emergency orders of protection

An emergency order of protection, often called a restraining order, is meant to protect you and your family for up to 21 days.

You can file for a protection order on behalf of a family or household member.

You don't have to notify the other parent when you request this kind of order. In fact, the hearing to decide whether it gets issued often takes place without the other parent (ex parte, in legal speak) within a few hours of the request. Hearings can occur with an on-call judge outside of court hours or on holidays, if necessary.

Emergency orders of protection are enforceable immediately.

Emergency custody orders

An emergency custody order temporarily allocates parental responsibilities and parenting time when a child's well-being is at risk. Unlike an order of protection, it doesn't necessarily restrict a parent's access to their child.

The parent requesting emergency custody must attempt to notify the other parent of the hearing scheduled about the issue.

Emergency custody orders are enforceable once the other parent has been informed of the details.

Temporary orders

Your judge may order two types of temporary orders: interim orders of protection and temporary custody orders.

Either parent can request temporary orders, or a judge may issue temporary orders to replace emergency orders.

Interim orders of protection

This type of order protects you and your family from the other parent for up to 30 days, until the judge can issue a plenary order of protection.

An interim order of protection can only be granted after the other party has been served (officially delivered) a copy of the petition for protection.

Temporary custody orders

A temporary custody order provides short-term solutions to parenting disputes that aren't emergencies, but can't wait until the end of legal proceedings.

These orders often allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time for the duration of the court process or settlement process. They remain in effect until a judge modifies them or issues a final judgment.

Parents can agree on temporary custody orders or ask the court for a determination.

While temporary custody orders are not meant to influence final judgments, if a temporary situation is stable, the court may continue it in a final judgment.

Final judgments

Your judge may sign two types of final judgments: plenary orders of protection or final custody judgments.

Plenary orders of protection

A plenary order of protection is a long-term restraining order. It replaces any interim orders of protection and lasts up to two years.

This kind of final judgment can only be granted after a hearing with both parties.

When your order of protection runs out, you can ask the court to renew it for another two years.

Final custody judgments

A final custody judgment allocates parental responsibilities and parenting time for each child in a case. It may also mandate substance abuse treatment, parenting coordination or other stipulations for parents.

A final custody judgment replaces any temporary custody orders. It lasts until one of the following occurs:

  • The child involved turns 18.
  • The child is emancipated.
  • The parents reach an alternate agreement.
  • A parent proves a new order is necessary.

Keep in mind that child support orders are handled differently. Child support usually continues until the child turns 18 or graduates from high school.

Final judgments can be reached in two ways. Preferably, the parties draw up the terms together, and a judge signs off to finalize them, as long as they're in the child's best interests. Known as settling, this is considered the gold standard by courts and parenting experts, as it keeps families in charge of their own lives.

Alternatively, a judge will rule based on the evidence from a trial.

If a parent wants to challenge a judge's decision, they can appeal to a higher court and begin the legal process again.

Modifying a final custody judgment

If parents want to modify a final custody judgment, they have two options.

First, they can agree on a new parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval.

If parents can't agree, they can ask the court to modify the plan for them. This may require mediation, hearings or a trial.

To ask the court to modify more than two years after a judgment was issued, you must prove that a significant change has occurred and that modification would be in the child's best interests.

If the judge issued orders less than two years ago, modifying becomes more difficult. You must prove the child's best interests are at serious risk.

Enforcing a final judgment

If the other parent doesn't follow orders issued by a court, you should keep detailed records of the violations. You can use your Custody X Change journal or actual parenting time tracker.

You can bring the matter before the court to help enforce the final judgment. Provide a copy of your records to the court before the hearing. Note that the other parent will see them and can provide their own evidence.

For serious or repeat violations, you can contact the police or file for contempt of court. If you think your situation calls for a contempt of court case, speak to an attorney; these are typically criminal proceedings.

Staying in compliance with orders

When a court issues orders, it's essential that you follow them to the letter. If you don't, you can be brought back to court, charged with a crime and more.

Orders for parenting time can be particularly difficult to decipher. When exactly does "Week 2" begin this month? Which day is considered the middle of winter break?

Use Custody X Change to transform your order into a calendar you can edit and print, so you'll never have to wonder whether you're staying in compliance.

With the Custody X Change app, you can parenting time schedules for the school year, summer break and holidays into one master calendar. Making changes is easy; just click and drag.

Take advantage of our technology so you never have to wonder if you're interpreting the court's order correctly.

Custody X Change is software that creates customizable parenting plans and possession schedules.

Make My Illinois Plan Now

Custody X Change is software that creates customizable parenting plans and possession schedules.

Make My Plan