Relocating With Your Child After An Illinois Divorce

In most circumstances, children benefit from close and consistent contact with both of their parents. Illinois law recognizes this fact and has relocation guidelines in place to protect the child’s best interests. Of course, there are circumstances in which a move might benefit the child – a parent may find a better job, have an opportunity to receive more support from close family, or there may be a chance for the parent to advance their career. If you are hoping to relocate with your child, the following information can help you understand the child relocation rules and requirements in Illinois.

Understanding Why the Guidelines Exist

Parenting plans created during a divorce generally have an allotment of parenting time for each of the child’s parents. Relocating with the child, particularly to a location that is far away, could disrupt the time that the child has with the non-moving parent. This could infringe on both the non-moving parent’s rights and the child’s best interests. The guidelines seek to minimize such infringements and it reminds parents that relocation of a child should never be taken lightly.

Child Relocation Overview

Not every child relocation needs prior approval. Those who reside with their child in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, or Will County can move up to 25 miles without approval from the child’s other parent. In all other counties, a parent is permitted to move up to 50 miles. This can include moves across state lines, provided that the move is not any further than 25 miles from the child’s current place of residence.

All other moves must receive approval from the non-moving parent. This is done through a written notice, which must be supplied to the child’s other parent at least 60 days prior to the intended move (if advance notice is not possible, notice must be given at the earliest date possible). The parent who wishes to relocate must include the following in their notice:

  • The date that the parent intends to move;
  • The address to which the parent intends to move; and
  • Duration of the move (if the relocation is temporary).

If the non-moving parent agrees with the move, then they sign the written notice and return it to the moving parent. The moving parent then files the signed notice with the court and no further action is needed. If the non-moving parent does not consent, the moving parent must then request permission from the court before relocating.

When Your Request to Relocate is Denied

As frustrating as it may be, the non-moving parent does have a right to contest a relocation that exceeds the maximum moving distance allowed by Illinois state law. In this instance, you must seek approval from the courts, where your child’s best interests will be a major determining factor. The judge may make several considerations, including:

  • The circumstances surrounding your desire to move;
  • The reasons that the non-moving parent has objected to the move;
  • Anticipated impact of the move on the child (both positive and negative);
  • Any impact that the relocation may have on the non-moving parent’s rights (and if there are any ways to minimize any possible impairment);
  • History and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child;
  • Possible arrangements that might enable a continuation of non-moving parent’s rights;
  • Any challenges that may arise in creating a reasonable parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities agreement, should the move proceed;
  • Presence or absence of extended family in both the current location and the intended location; and
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant to the child’s best interests.

Wanting to Relocate? Our Naperville Family Law Attorneys Can Help

At Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C., we understand that relocations are sometimes necessary to improve the overall quality of a child’s life. Able to walk you through the child relocation process, our Naperville family law attorneys will represent you in your case. We protect your rights and your child’s best interests. Call us at 630-665-7676 and request a confidential consultation with us today to learn more.