Child Custody and Moving out of State

As a divorced parent, you have likely found that it is not always easy to make spur-of-the-moment decisions regarding your child. You need to work together with your child’s other parent to ensure that he or she has all of his or her needs met while maintaining relationships with each of you. This would not be a problem if our lives remained static; however, the reality is that you will need to compromise with your former spouse and abide by court rules for your child’s sake.

Simply put, you might need to obtain court permission to move out of Illinois with your child. If you are considering such a move, discuss your plans with a qualified family attorney before contacting the court. Your attorney will be able to walk you through the process of obtaining court permission and help you prove the necessity of such a move.

Your Child’s Right to Both Parents

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, every child of divorced parents has the right to a meaningful relationship with each parent. This is developed and maintained through regular contact between the child and each parent. If moving out of state could impede your child’s ability to enjoy regular contact with his or her other parent, your former spouse may be able to have the court deny your request to move out of state. When a child is moved out of state, it is known as a removal.

A parent may cite one of the following four factors when challenging a removal. These factors are known as the Eckert factors, named for the benchmark 1988 removal case involving a family known as the Eckerts:

  • The move will not improve the child or custodial parent’s quality of life;
  • The child will suffer from not seeing the non-custodial parent as frequently following a move;
  • Such a move would prevent the child and parent from having a substantial visitation schedule; or
  • The distance required to maintain a visitation schedule following such a move would place an unfair burden on the child.

Factors the Court Considers for a Removal Request

When a parent requests a removal, the court considers how the move will affect the child and his or her interests. Generally, the following factors are considered when determining whether or not to grant a removal request:

  • The parent’s reasons for moving out of Illinois, such as career opportunities and remarriage;
  • Any opposition from the non-custodial parent;
  • The child’s current visitation schedule;
  • Potential harm to the child’s relationships with his or her parents due to the move;
  • The possibility of a realistic visitation schedule following the move; and
  • How such a move would affect the entire family.

Obtaining court permission to move your child out of state with you can be difficult, but it can be necessary. Do not allow your former spouse to attempt to keep you in Illinois if you know moving is the best choice for your family.

Family Law Attorney in DuPage County

If you are considering an interstate move with your child, contact our office today to discuss your plan with a compassionate DuPage County family law attorney who can help you work out a productive solution for your case. Our firm proudly advocates for Illinois families and will give your case the care and dedication it deserves.