Moving Out of Illinois with Children After a Divorce

If the parent who has residential custody of the children wants to move out of Illinois after the divorce, he or she typically cannot pack up and go. Absent the written agreement from the other parent, the party wishing to relocate out of state needs to seek the court’s permission to move and file a “Petition for Removal.”
When deciding whether the removal is in the children’s best interest and should be granted, the Court will look at a series of factors. In re Marriage of Eckert, the landmark Illinois Supreme Court case on this issue, laid out the five following factors:
1. The likelihood that the move will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial parent and the children.
2. The motives of the custodial parent in seeking to move to determine whether the removal is merely a ruse intended to defeat or frustrate visitation.
3. The motives of the noncustodial parent in resisting the removal
4. That it is in the best interest of the child to have a healthy and close relationship with both parents and therefore the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent should be carefully considered.
5. Whether a realistic and reasonable visitation schedule can be reached if the move is allowed.
Courts are not confined to considering these above factors. There are many other cases with a variety of circumstances that can be helpful in evaluating each family’s unique situation and arguing for or against the removal.

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