What do I need to do to get custody?
For starters, to get custodial rights through a Court will require one of the parents to file a petition with the Court. In Illinois, most commonly we will see this done with either a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) or through a Petition for Custody. This document is best filed by your attorney, who will take the responsibility of walking the Court through the reasons why you should receive the award of custody.
When a parent petitions the Court for custody, the Petition must be accompanied by a Child Custody Affidavit. In Cook, and some other counties, this takes the form of the Declaration Under [the] Uniform Child Custody Jurisdictional Enforcement Act Declaration (UCCJEA).
When the Petition is filed as part of divorce proceedings with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the parents will also need to take a county-specific educational class that is aimed at teaching parents ways to help their child cope with the new custodial arrangement.