Divorce is a serious decision a couple makes when the marriage is characterized by irreconcilable differences. The decision as to what happens to the children after the divorce, that is, who they will live with, where they will spend their holidays, and which parent will make important decisions for the child, will be determined by the desires of the parents, best interests of the child, and the court. Sometimes, after a divorce decree is finalized and a parenting arrangement is determined, changes to the divorce judgment may be necessary or desired. For example, what if you and your ex-spouse share parental responsibilities—formerly called a joint custody arrangement—but you have been offered a job in another state? Despite the finality of divorce settlement arrangements, changes may be warranted in certain circumstances. Finding the right Illinois child custody attorney to advocate for a post-judgment modification is the best way to ensure your rights are protected and you have the best chance at ensuring the best path for your children’s future.
The only proper (and legal) way to remove a child from Illinois when you have an existing arrangement for parental responsibilities is to go through the court system. Failure to follow these procedures may lead to kidnapping charges, or worse, loss of your rights regarding your children.
Removal may be either:
Both temporary and permanent removal requires the consent of the child’s other parent. Temporary removal can be accomplished without court order only if the other parent agrees, usually in writing. The same is true for international travel, though the consent of both parents may need to be recorded in a court order in order to issue a passport to the minor or to travel in certain specific countries. In order to protect yourself against allegations that you did not tell the other parent about your travel plans or ask for permission before leaving, it is recommended that you:
Following these simple tips will ensure your compliance with any outstanding court orders and demonstrate your adherence to the law. If a court order becomes necessary, be advised that it may take many months for this to be accomplished. It is best to begin the process as soon as you know you may want to travel. It should be noted that the court may recognize certain situations as “emergencies”, such as if there is a medical emergency or death in the family that requires immediate travel, and may help expedite the process or issue a temporary order of removal. Temporary Orders of Removal require strict compliance; there may be severe consequences for failure to abide by their specific terms (such as when you must bring the child back to Illinois).
Permanent removal of a child from Illinois almost always require a court order. If the parent who has primary parental responsibilities regarding the child must relocate for personal, professional, or familial reasons, that parent must petition the court for approval.
To determine whether or not to grant the removal request, the court will look to the same standards it looks to when determining child custody initially—the best interests of the child. The court may be more likely to allow the removal of the child if there is a threat to physical safety, or a medical or financial emergency warrants the relocation. The court may be less likely to remove the child if the move is for purely personal reasons or if it would so seriously disrupt the child’s routine that it is better for the child to remain in Illinois. The maturity of the child, the age, desires of the child, and reason for the move are heavily taken into consideration.
Whether you are looking to take a trip or relocate permanently, as a divorced parent, it is critical to understand your rights and responsibilities. Consulting with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney before making any changes to your parenting or custody arrangement will make the process quicker and easier, as well as improve your chances of success. At Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C., we tailor our practice to each of our client’s unique needs. We understand that after the divorce the last thing you want to do is end up in court again with your ex-spouse. We work hard to make the process as quick as possible and ensure that you understand what is going on in every step of the process. Reach out to our convenient Naperville law office at 630-665-7676 today to learn more about your child custody rights post-divorce judgment.