How long does a child custody case take?

mens divorce lawyerQuestion:

I have been in a custody battle that has dragged on for over a year because the case keeps being continued and delays keep coming up.

Can’t lawyers and judges be held responsible for these delays? How can I ensure this case is resolved soon?


Illinois Supreme Court Rule 922 provides that custody matters in dissolution of marriage and paternity cases must be resolved within 18 months. Written findings are required if the deadline is not met, and extensions of the time limit may only be granted for good cause shown, on written finding by the trial court.

Depending on the complexity of the specific facts and circumstances involved in your case, additional time beyond the 18 months may be required to reach a resolution.

An attorney experienced in handling custody cases should be aware of this Supreme Court Rule and the specific time constraints involved in custody cases.

If your are concerned about the speed with which your case is progressing, you should raise these concerns to your attorney and engage your lawyer in discussions regarding the strategy and expected timetable for resolution of this case.

Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers across the country, including Illinois.


Erin Brockhoff is an Associate Attorney in the Belleville, IL office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Brockhoff is licensed in the state of Illinois, and the Southern and Northern Districts of Illinois. Ms. Brockhoff received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Psychology, magna cum laude, from Miami University. She received her Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society.

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2 comments on “How long does a child custody case take?

    Divorce Case Delays
    Without being familiar with the specifics of your case and the various dealings that have occurred in Court your question is extremely difficult for me to answer. It is very common place for Courts to allow a continuance or two on a trial setting. The Courts are also more inclined to be lenient in cases where one or both of you are not represented by an attorney. As I am not familiar with the Texas specific options available to move your case forward I would recommend consulting an area attorney as to what can be done.

    In Oklahoma, where I practice, I would request a hearing or status conference for the Court to set a new trial date. Oklahoma has specific processes that must occur before a trial date is set to ensure both parties are ready for trial on the trial date. At the status conference I would ask the Court to order your wife to be present and ready for trial at that time or a default judgment may be taken against her. Then I would prepare for trial expecting to try the case on that date. If she appeared for trial and was not prepared, I would ask the Court to take a default judgment against her and issue a custody ruling.

    Cordell & Cordell has Texas divorce attorneys who would be happy to discuss your case with you:

    Bradley K. Cunningham is a Senior Attorney in the Tulsa, Oklahoma office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. where his primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Cunningham is licensed in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. 

After growing up in Tulsa, Mr. Cunningham moved to Arkansas where he received his undergraduate degree in Accounting from Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He then returned to Oklahoma and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Oklahoma.

    Do you know if there is a time line for Texas? My boyfriends custody case was filed over five years ago & there is still no resolution.

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