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what you need to know about child relocation from custody lawyers

Can You Move With Your Child?

Categorized as Child Custody, Child Relocation

In the state of Illinois, making a move with your child used to be pretty straight forward.  You only needed the other parent’s consent or court approval if you were leaving the state of Illinois, or doing a removal out-of-state.  However, if you were not moving out of state, you had it in your power to move wherever you desired.  The laws have changed since then to say that you are not allowed to move more than 25 miles for highly populated counties, and 50 miles for smaller populated counties, without the other party’s consent.   

The Child Relocation law in January 2016 had some significant changes.

This Illinois law had some significant changes.  For one, it is now called relocation.  If you live in highly populated counties, like Cook, Dupage, Will, and McHenry, and you wanted to move 25 miles away from where your child lives, you had to get permission from the other side.  You will either need consent from the other parent or file a motion so that you can get permission through a court order hearing, if necessary.  If you live outside these highly populated counties, it becomes a 50-mile radius.       

When it was called removal, previously, you could live in northern Illinois and move to southern Illinois.  You had it in your right to move that far of a distance.  The only thing was that the parenting time needed to be modified.  However, when the law changed in January 2016, it was changed to state that if you moved this 25 (or 50) mile radius, you needed to get consent from the other parent.  Now, it wasn’t necessarily that you needed permission only if you were to move out of state. 

However, keep in mind that if you did want to move out of state — even if it is just over the border a few miles — you still have to get permission.  Therefore, out of state moves still invoke the requirement, but now there is also a mile radius, as opposed to just the out-of-state.   

You Must be the Primary Parent to Move with your Child

Being the primary parenting parent means that you have more than 50% of the time or you at least have 50-50 parenting time.  If you wanted to move with your child and you did not have 50-50 time, meaning that you are not the primary parent, the first thing you need to do is modify your parenting time.  You will need to file a motion or get permission from the other side and do a modified order that would make you the primary parent, or least a parent with 50-50 time.  This would allow you the ability to file and request the court that you want to move.    

Give the other parent notice!

You must give a 60-day notice of your intent to move with your child.  However, sometimes 60 days is not practicable, and there is a caveat for that if the 60-day notice is not practicable.  Therefore, if it is a situation where you cannot give 60 days notice, that is provided for in the statute. 

What is included in the 60-day notice? 

You must explain:

  1. Where you are going
  2. When you are going
  3. If this is a temporary or a permanent move.

Next, you would take the notice and file it with the Circuit Court so that the notice is sent to the other parent.  If the other parent agrees, they will sign it.  When you get that signature back, you can file that with the Circuit Court.  Nothing further will need to be done as far as the removal — assuming that an alternate parenting plan has been established to accommodate the distance moved. 

What happens if the other parent does not agree to the move?

In this case, you will need to file a motion with the court.  The court will then decide through a hearing, if necessary.      

The primary interest of the court lies in the best interest of the child. 

The court is going to take a couple of factors into consideration.  They will ask:

  • Why is the parent moving?  You will need to provide good reasons for the move.
  • What is the purpose of the move?
  • What are the reasons behind the other parent objecting?
  • What is available to the child here, as far as education and activities, as compared to what is available to the child where you will be moving?
  • Is there family support here and there?
  • What are the parent’s time with the child now and have they been actively exercising that?

These factors are important to the court because they will only make a decision if it is the best interest of the child

The court will also look at how the move will affect the other parent. 

If one parent has three or four days a week, and have a lot of time with the child, then that is a very difficult situation in convincing the court to remove.  If one parent is very active in the child’s life and exercises visitation, the court may not approve the move — especially if you are moving quite a distance where that same involvement would be difficult for the other parent.  

Now, if you have a parent who is an every-other-weekend parent in that they sometimes exercise the visitation, and sometimes they don’t, the court will also take that into consideration.  Therefore, if the court decides that it may be in the best interest of the child to move, the court is going to ask — what kind of parenting time can we implement of put in place that would benefit everyone involved, particularly the child?  The end goal would be to re-create some type of schedule to keep the parents connected. 

In the case of domestic violence.

There are situations where domestic violence is involved and is the main reason that you are relocating and taking your child.  The courts also take that into consideration.  While you still have to provide notice, you may not have to put your new address on the notice.  

Seek Advice from a Chicago Divorce Attorney Before Moving with Your Child

If you have questions or concerns about relocation with your child, contact us at Anderson & Boback to schedule your confidential consultation. Our Chicago divorce attorneys have extensive experience with child relocation cases and can help you learn more about how you could effectively move with your child. 


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