Can I Move Out of State with My Child After an Illinois Divorce?

HomeBlogChild CustodyCan I Move Out of State with My Child After an Illinois Divorce?

Even in circumstances where divorce is the best solution for a family, it’s never easy. Having children and going through a divorce or being divorced adds many other layers of complex logistics and emotions. Just because your divorce has been finalized doesn’t mean there won’t be issues in the future. One common issue that comes up for divorced Illinois couples is moving out of state with a child. Maybe you’ve accepted a job out of state, received offers from out-of-state family members to help with your children, or are ready for something new. Whatever the case, you can’t simply pack up and move. Suppose you have children and want to move after your divorce. In that case, it’s best to consult with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney before doing anything else.

Moving vs. Relocating

If your parenting plan provides you with equal (50/50) parenting time or the majority of parenting time,  you can move with your child without the explicit permission of the court or the child’s other parent. However, Illinois family law makes a critical distinction between moving and relocating. 

Under Illinois family law, you are relocating if you:

  • Move more than 25 miles from your child’s original home if it is in Cook, DuPage, McHenry, Kane, Lake, or Will Counties 
  • Move more than 50 miles away from the original home within Illinois if it is not in Cook County, DuPage, McHenry, Kane, Lake, or Will Counties
  • Move out of state ​​(unless it’s less than 25 miles from your original home)

While parents who have the most parenting time have some freedoms to move, they don’t have total freedom without special permission. If you are relocating and moving out of state, you will need the permission of the child’s other parent or the court in order to do so legally. An experienced Illinois divorce lawyer can help you determine what your rights are and the best strategy for exercising them so that you can move out of state with your child.

Steps to Relocating Out of State

To relocate out of state with your child, there are some detailed steps you must follow:

  • File a Notice of Relocation
  • Provide your child’s other parent with a copy of the notice at least 60 days before you plan to relocate

If the other parent agrees:

  • They must sign the notice
  • Then you will need to file the signed notice with the court 

This situation is ideal because you can move without any further court involvement or the need to appear in court. The judge will modify your parenting plan in order to allow your out-of-state move.

If the other parent doesn’t agree or doesn’t sign the notice, you will need to:

  • File a Petition to Relocate
  • Go to a court hearing where the court will decide if relocating is in the child’s best interests

Just as they did in your original parenting plan and any modifications since, the court will make decisions based on what is in your child’s best interests. They will examine the:

  • Parents’ relationships with the child
  • Reasons why the parent is requesting to relocate
  • Educational opportunities available to the child in the current and potential new locations
  • Current and potential arrangements for parental responsibilities
  • Extended family in both locations
  • Potential impact on the child if the relocation occurs
  • Child’s desires

Do You Want to Relocate with Your Child? Contact an Illinois Divorce Attorney Today for Help

Contact The Goodman Law Firm today to schedule your private divorce consultation with a seasoned Illinois divorce lawyer. At your consultation, we will assess the circumstances surrounding your relocation, prepare to negotiate with your child’s other parent, and file any necessary paperwork. You can rely on us for full-service child custody representation.


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