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February 3,2021

Child Custody, Divorce

Moving after a Divorce with Children in Illinois

HomeBlogChild CustodyMoving after a Divorce with Children in Illinois

Change is an inevitable fact of life and divorce is often a catalyst for significant change.  Following your divorce you may be contemplating a number of changes whether to your personal, professional or romantic life.  One common post-divorce change is the desire (or necessity) to move.  Residing in the same home or community after your divorce may not be feasible or desirable.  If you are a divorced Illinois parent with children, there may be some legal limitations on your moving plans, particularly if those plans take you out of state.  Below we discuss some of the possible limitations on your ability to move with your children.

Distinguishing Between a Move and a Relocation

Parents are not required to stay put in the same house or apartment indefinitely after divorce.  A local move is almost always permissible, though you should always check the terms of your parenting agreement.  While local moves are typically acceptable, Illinois public policy recognizes that the relationship between a parent and child can be seriously jeopardized by excessive distance and/or long travel times when parents don’t reside in close proximity to each other.  A parent residing in Naperville is necessarily going to have a more difficult time exercising parenting time if his or her children and other parent move to Lake Forest.  Illinois family law makes a clear distinction between a move and a relocation.  Generally, a relocation is a move that exceeds a specific distance from the child’s current primary residence.

When is a Moves a Relocations Under Illinois Family Law?

Illinois parents with majority or equal parenting time need the consent of the other parent or court approval if they intend to relocate with their children.  The definition of a relocation varies.  A move is a relocation if it is:

  • more than 25 miles from the child’s current primary residence in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will Counties (750 ILCS 5/600(g)(1));
  • more than 50 miles from the child’s current primary residence in any other Illinois county (750 ILCS 5/600(g)(2)); or
  • to a residence outside Illinois that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current primary residence.  750 ILCS 5/600(g)(3).

Parents residing in Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane, McHenry and Lake Counties are given less latitude when relocating because traffic and congestion can greatly impact the amount of time it take to travel the same number of miles.

Notification Required for a Relocation

If your intended move is deemed a relocation under Illinois family law, then you will need to notify your children’s other parent of your intent to relocate.  Illinois requires sixty days advance notice unless that is impractical under the circumstances.  The notice must be in writing and filed with the court.  The notice must include the following information:

  • the date you plan to move,
  • your new address (if known), and
  • whether the relocation will be permanent or temporary and, if temporary, its expected duration.

Parental Consent or Court Approval Required for a Relocation

You will need either the written consent of your child’s other parent or court approval to relocate with your children.  If the other parent consents to the relocation, he or she can sign your written notice and file it with the court.  If you need to change the parenting time schedule as a result of the relocation, you can do this by agreement at this time.  If your child’s other parent objects to the relocation,  you will need court approval to relocate and modify the terms of your parenting plan.  The failure to comply with these requirements can have serious consequences for your future parenting rights.

Courts Approve Relocation Only if in the Best Interests of the Minor Children

When a parent objects to a relocation, the court will consider a number of factors when determining whether to grant or deny the relocation request.  The relocation will only be granted if it’s in the child’s best interests.  The court will consider the following factors set forth in Section 609.2 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act when makings its determination:

  • The circumstances and reasons for the relocation;
  • The reasoning underlying the non-relocating parent’s objection;
  • The history and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child, and specifically, whether a parent has substantially failed or refused to exercise the parental responsibilities allocated to him or her under the parenting plan or allocation judgment;
  • The educational opportunities for the child at current residence and proposed residence;
  • The presence or absence of extended family at the existing location, and at the proposed new location;
  • The anticipated impact of the relocation on the child;
  • Whether the court will be able to fashion a reasonable allocation of parental responsibilities between all parents if the relocation occurs;
  • The wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to relocation;
  • Possible arrangements for the exercise of parental responsibilities appropriate to the parents’ resources and circumstances and the developmental level of the child;
  • Minimization of the impairment to the parent-child relationship caused by a parent’s relocation; and
  • Any other relevant factors bearing on the child’s best interests.

Elmhurst Child Relocation Attorney

Whether you are contemplating a local move or a relocation it’s a good idea to seek legal advice to make sure your move is permissible under your parenting agreement or under Illinois family law. Child relocation cases are legally complex.  Whether you are requesting or opposing a relocation, you will need to present your case in a cogent and persuasive manner in order to prevail.  If you anticipate a move in your future or are worried about losing parenting time with your kids as a consequence of a relocation, contact Elmhurst family law lawyer Cameron H. Goodman today.  We can help you devise a plan that supports the best interests of your family.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation about child relocation in Illinois.

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