Having custody means making important decisions for a child, and spending time with them. The term "custody" is no longer used in the law. The new term is "parental responsibilities." The term "custody" is used here because it is still a common term.
Illinois courts can give custody when they have home-state jurisdiction, which means that:
- The child has lived in Illinois for the past 6 months or since birth if the child is under 6 months old; or
- The child lives in another state, but moved from Illinois within the past 6 months and one of the parents still lives in Illinois.
If you have just moved from another state, you may not get custody except in the following cases:
- No state has home-state jurisdiction or the state with home-state jurisdiction will not hear the case;
- One of the parents or the child has an important connection to Illinois and there is a lot of information about the child available in Illinois; or
- In emergencies to protect the safety of a child.
If you are in the middle of a custody case in another state when you move to Illinois, you will usually need to finish the case in the state where it started.
Updated: August 2017