Relocating with Your Child after an Illinois Divorce or Separation

Chances are good that at some point following an Illinois divorce or separation, one or both of the parents of a child will want to relocate. The relocation may be due to a job change or transfer, to start a new life with a new spouse or significant other, or simply because the moving parent feels the need for a “fresh start.” Whatever the reason for the proposed move, executing such a move is not as easy as simply packing up one’s belongings, even if the actual divorce is finalized. What steps does a parent need to accomplish in order to relocate following a divorce or child custody action?

Check the Terms of Your Divorce or Custody Order for Specific Directions

The very first thing you should do if you are seeking to relocate either within or outside Illinois is to examine the specific terms of your divorce decree, child custody decree, and/or parenting plan. If your action is not yet finalized, look at any temporary orders you received. If any of these documents contain provisions or conditions regarding relocation – i.e., prohibiting you from relocating without an order of the court or requiring you to give specific notice other party a certain number of days before the move – you must follow these terms. Failure to do so can subject you to the contempt power of the court.

Moving Out of State – Consent or Court Approval

You generally do not need permission of the court to move within the State of Illinois unless court orders tell you otherwise. To prevent confusion and potential litigation later, you should generally still provide notice to the other parent as to when and where you will be moving and your contact information (except, of course, in cases involving abuse or threats to you or your family).

Moving out of state is a different matter. You must generally provide advance notice to the other parent regarding the details of the proposed move. If the other parent consents (the consent should be obtained in writing), you may proceed with the move. If the other parent does not consent, you must seek a court order permitting you to move the child out of state. The other parent will have an opportunity at the hearing on your requested move to object to your intended move.

What Happens if I Want to Move Out-of-State and the Other Parent Objects?

If the other parent will not consent to you moving out-of-state with your child, you must obtain court approval to do so. In most cases, a court will only give you approval after holding a hearing and giving both parents an opportunity to be heard. A court will consider the reason for the proposed move, the likely effect on the child, and the effect the move may have on the noncustodial parent’s visitation. The court will then approve or deny the requested move based on what it feels is in the child’s best interests.

Contact an Illinois Child Custody Attorney for Help

Although you do not need an attorney’s assistance to request permission to move, having a dedicated DuPage County child custody lawyer’s help may prove invaluable. We can help you understand any obligations you may have to notify the other parent under the terms of your divorce or child custody orders. We can also help you gather and present the facts needed to help the court see your proposed move is in the best interest of the child. Contact us and let us help you accomplish your relocation goals.