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Illinois Child Removal and Relocation

Cook County Family Law Attorney

Life rarely keeps us in one place forever. New relationships, job opportunities, a desire to break out of an old routine, and familial responsibilities can draw us across state lines and even national borders. For an individual without a child, moving can be fairly simple. But if you are a parent who has a parenting time agreement in place, leaving your hometown might not be that simple. Your child has the right to a consistent relationship with both of his or her parents and if your move would disrupt his or her relationship with your former partner, the court might not permit you to make the move. In some cases, preventing a child from moving is in the child's best interest and in others, allowing him or her to move despite the way it might compromise his or her relationship with a parent is the best course of action. If you are considering moving with your child, whether your move is within Illinois or beyond its borders, speak with an experienced family law attorney about the process of obtaining permission from your former partner and if necessary, the court. The distance of your proposed move determines whether you need to obtain permission to move. Other factors, such as how the move would impact your quality of life, determine whether your request is approved.

2016 Changes to Illinois Family Law

Previously, Illinois parents who wanted to move out of state with their children were required to obtain permission from their former partners to do so, regardless of the distance of the move. If a partner did not grant permission, the parent needed to obtain permission from the court. In-state moves required no such permission. This created a framework where it was possible for a parent to make a substantial, hundred-mile or more move without permission, as long as the move was within the state of Illinois, but that parent would need to obtain permission to make a small move just over the border into Indiana or Wisconsin.

In 2016, the law changed to amend this. Now, whether a parent needs permission to move with a child or not depends solely on the distance of the move, rather than whether it involves leaving the state. Parents in DuPage, Lake, Cook, McHenry, Will, and Kane Counties are permitted to move to any location within 25 miles of their current hometown without permission from their former partner or the court. Parents in all other counties are permitted to move up to 50 miles without permission.

Moving Out of State with your Child

If you are considering moving out of state with your child, you will need permission from his or her other parent to do so. If your former partner consents to the move, you can make it with a copy of this written consent. If not, you will need to work with your lawyer to petition to the court to override his or her refusal to allow the move.

In your petition, you need to prove to the court that moving would be in your child's best interest. The primary way to demonstrate this is to show the reason why you want to move out of state. Reasons that are considered to be "good reasons" for a parent to move out of state with his or her child include:

  • Seeking critical medical treatment he or she cannot receive locally;
  • Moving to take care of an injured, ill, or elderly loved one;
  • Leaving an abusive or dangerous home;
  • Moving for a higher-paying job that would provide a better quality of life for the parent and the child; and
  • Moving for an educational opportunity for the parent or the child that would provide them with a better quality of life immediately or in the future.

Wanting to move to spite the other parent, a desire to simply live in a new environment, or moving to be with a new partner after a short period of time together are generally not acceptable reasons to move a child beyond the permitted 25 or 50 miles.

Work with an Experienced Cook County Family Law Firm

If you are considering filing for divorce or moving out of state with your child, seek legal guidance and representation from an experienced Rolling Meadows family and divorce lawyer. Donald J. Cosley of the Law Offices of Donald J. Cosley can help you work through the family law issue you are facing. Contact our law firm today to schedule your free legal consultation.

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