If you are divorced and have minor children, the process of moving can be daunting. If you plan on crossing state lines or moving more than 25 miles, it is important to know your legal limitations and responsibilities.
At Diamond Divorce Law, we have decades of experience helping Illinois families through their family law issues. This blog will discuss the complications of moving with a child, but you should always feel free to contact us if you have more questions.
Illinois Child Relocation basics
First, it’s important to note that there is a difference between “moving” and “relocating” under Illinois family law. Simply changing neighborhoods or moving a few minutes away is generally considered a move, not relocation.
Relocations are typically further distances, which trigger the Illinois relocation rules.
In Illinois, relocating can be defined as:
- Moving more than 25 miles from the child’s current primary residence in DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will Counties;
- Moving more than 50 miles from the child’s current primary residence in most other Illinois counties;
- Moving to a residence outside Illinois that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current primary residence.
Are you planning on relocating?
If you are considering a relocation with your child – either within in Illinois or out of the state – here are some things to consider:
- It is always a good idea to contact an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process. After all, you don’t want to jeopardize your child custody or visitation privileges.
- You may be required to provide the court with a Notice of Relocation, including details such as:
- when and where you plan to relocate,
- why you wish to relocate,
- how long you plan on living in your new location, and
- how your move will impact your agreed-upon parenting plan.
- You will need to provide a copy of the Relocation Notice to the other parent at least 60 days before your planned relocation.
What if the other parent says no?
Unfortunately, sometimes an ex-partner will not go along with even the best-intentioned plans.
When the other parent does not agree with the relocation, it becomes necessary to seek permission from the court prior to relocating.
Again, it is always advisable to seek professional legal representation to make sure this is done correctly. An experienced Illinois family law attorney can help you through this process.
First, a petition seeking permission to relocate will need to be filed. The petition should include detailed relocation plans and specifically why these plans are in the child’s or children’s best interest.
If necessary, the court can order an evidentiary hearing in which both parties can present evidence, call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses for the other party and dispute opposing arguments. It is almost always in your best interest to have highly experienced legal representation for this type of hearing.
The judge will factor in the following in deciding whether or not to modify the parenting plan:
- What is in the child’s best interests
- Educational opportunities for the child (current home vs. the proposed relocation)
- Each parent’s relationship with the child (who the child feels closer to)
- The wishes of the child (depending on the child’s age)
- Previously agreed-upon parenting/custody arrangements
- Where the child’s extended family lives
- Reasons for relocating (new job, better opportunities, etc.)
- Why the other parent is objecting to the intended relocation
- The cost and difficulty for the child to visit the non-custodial parent
It is extremely important to follow the correct procedure to get proper court authorization to relocate. Relocating without proper court authorization can result in a loss of custody and may even have criminal implications.
Contact Diamond Divorce today
If the court declines your petition for relocation, you’ll be forced to remain where you are. This is why it is crucial to have an experienced family law attorney fighting on your behalf. At Diamond Divorce, we have decades of experience helping Illinois families through family law proceedings to find an outcome that works for everyone. Contact the offices of Diamond Divorce today for help with your relocation.
DISCLAIMER: Any information contained herein is solely for informational purposes. While it is important that you educate yourself, nothing herein should be construed as legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. For specific questions, I always urge you to contact a local attorney for advice pertaining to your specific legal needs.