New Illinois Custody Law: Step-Parents Can Obtain Custody
This blog is focused on the new Illinois custody law affecting Palatine, Arlington Heights and Rolling Meadows. Under certain conditions in the new law, step-parents can obtain custody of a minor child in Illinois. Per amended custody law 750 ILCS5/601, This law goes into effect on January 1, 2015 and has many significant amendments that were not part of the old custody law.
A key change to the law is found in 750 ILCS 5/601.2(b)(4). This subparagraph of section 601 allows a step-parent to obtain custody of a minor child. This is fairly novel as it concerns the courts of the State of Illinois. Under this new law:
“A proceeding for allocation of parental responsibilities with respect to a child is commenced in the court:
(4) by a step-parent, by filing a petition, if all of the following circumstances are met:
(A) The parent having the majority of parenting time is deceased or is disabled and cannot perform the duties of a parent to the child.
(B) The step-parent provided for the care, control, and welfare of the child prior to the initiation of proceedings for allocation of parental responsibilities;
(C ) The child wishes to live with the step-parent; and,
(D) it is alleged to be in the best interests and welfare of the child to live with the step-parent as provided in section 602.5 of this Act;
Thanks to the passing of this newly amended custody law, we now see that a step-parent can in fact gain the custody of the minor children. A big condition however is that the natural parent is either disabled or deceased. Thus, a step-parent cannot simply petition for custody of a step-child during a divorce proceeding if the natural parent is still alive and able to act in that capacity. This of course raises questions as to the notice that must be given to the non-custodial parent of the step-child. It can be assumed that the non-custodial natural parent may have something to say about a step-parent seeking custody of his/her child.