Can I take my children out of State?

As spring break approaches, I am constantly being asked by my clients whether they can take their child on vacation despite their pending divorce.  The answer is yes, provided there are no court orders in place prohibiting you from doing so and the vacation does not interfere with the other party’s visitation with the child.

Section 609 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act addresses the removal of a minor child from the State of Illinois. Although this provision is most commonly used to address situations where the custodial parent seeks to permanently remove the parties’ minor child from the State of Illinois, paragraph (b) also addresses temporarily removing a minor child from the State of Illinois. In order to temporarily remove a child from the State of Illinois, the parent removing the child must provide the other parent with notice of the trip. This notice must include the address and telephone number of where the child will be staying during the period of temporary removal, and the date on which the child shall return to Illinois. In other words, in order to temporarily remove your child from the State of Illinois for a vacation, you must provide the other parent with an itinerary of your trip and the contact information where your child may be reached.

Although this rule seems relatively simple, Section 609 does not allow a parent to remove their child from the State of Illinois at any time. For instance, if the parties have a temporary visitation schedule in place, the period of temporary removal could not interfere with the other parent’s visitation.  It is also important to note that Section 609(b) will only apply if the parties do not have an order in place that states otherwise. If the parties have previously agreed how to handle vacations with their children and this agreement was reduced to an order, that agreement would apply.  If you have a question regarding a custody issue, feel free to contact our office for a consultation.

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