Often parties that have children with another person want to know what needs to be done if they wish to move out of state with their children. The answer in Illinois is that the party can always move out of state, however, the children may not be allowed to go with them. Under Illinois statute, any party that wishes to permanently remove a minor child from the state of Illinois must first petition the Court. Even if the party that wishes to move has Joint or Sole Custody of the minor children does not grant them the automatic right to move the children from the state of Illinois. The process of moving minor children outside of the state of Illinois is called “removal”.
Granting “removal” is highly discretionary and depends upon each factual situation. Sometimes a job offer might be enough, if the job is an extraordinary opportunity for the parent and if that will confer numerous benefits on the minor child. The primary standard that the Court uses in looking at whether or not to grant removal of a minor child is whether or not the move would be in the child’s best interests. While a new job offer and a large pay increase for a parent that wants removal is usually a very good thing, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a move would be in the child’s best interests. Judges have to weigh various factors against each other when considering whether or not removal is in the child’s best interest, but when there is another parent involved that would be left behind, the Court gives significant thought and weight to how a move might affect parenting time and the relationship between the minor child and the other parent that is not moving. Although we ae a highly mobile society, the Court cannot really consider electronic means of communication (i.e. Skype or FaceTime) when making a determination regarding visitation issues in a removal case. Removal is most likely to be granted when the removal attempt is in good faith and a good parenting time schedule can be put in place between the parent staying behind and the minor child, to give that parent even more time with the minor child, or just as good of a schedule.
Since removal is based highly upon the facts surrounding each independent situation it is hard to guess whether or not a Court might grant removal.