Child custody and support cases are often decided in conjunction with a divorce case. Others are heard on their own, either because the parents never married, or because the issue of custody was not originally addressed when the couple divorced. Regardless of the circumstances of how the case came to be in the court, all child custody cases involve the same rules of law.
First Things First
In order to hear a child custody case, the court must have jurisdiction to do so. This means that the court must be legally allowed to make decisions pertaining to the parties involved in a case. This may be an issue particularly for parents who live in different states. The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) puts forth the rules to follow on this issue. In the state of Illinois, a court can hear a child custody case if: