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Do I Have the Right to Relocate With My Child?

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County child relocation lawyerSometimes, life changes unexpectedly. A new job, new relationship, or death in the family may necessitate a move, but relocating your family is almost never easy. Moving with your child can be especially difficult during or in the wake of a divorce, as Illinois law places restrictions on relocating with children. In many cases, one parent’s desire to move must be balanced with the other parent’s right to parenting time and their children’s interests in staying where they are comfortable.

Illinois Child Relocation Laws

Before 2016, Illinois law held that a single or divorced parent could uproot their children for any destination within the state, but if they chose to leave the state even by a very small distance, permission from either the other spouse or the family court was required. With the revamping of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) in 2016, a new approach was adopted for parents who have at least half of the parenting time with their children.

Under the current law, a parent living in Kane County, Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, McHenry County, or Will County can move with their child to a new residence within Illinois, up to 25 miles from the original home, without the consent of the other parent or the family court. If a parent resides with their child outside of those counties, the allowable distance is increased to 50 miles, simply because the middle and southern counties in the state of Illinois are larger and less dense than the six counties immediately surrounding Chicago. If a parent wants to move outside the state of Illinois, they are still allowed to do so within a distance of 25 miles without seeking permission. However, it is important to remember that within that distance, Illinois remains the home state of the child for purposes of disputes over parental responsibilities. 

Asking and Obtaining Permission

If your change in circumstances will require a move beyond the parameters set out in the law, you will have to obtain permission either from your ex-spouse or from the family court. If your ex-spouse declines, you must file a petition for relocation with the court. The judge will consider the reason for your request, but he or she will also seek to balance the necessity of the move with the best interests of your child or children. 

Some factors a judge will consider when determining whether or not to grant a relocation request include:

  • How attached a child is to their home and community

  • The feasibility of parenting time for the spouse staying behind

  • The motivation for the move, and if it is in good faith

  • The other parent’s reasons for objecting

  • Opportunities in both locations

  • The presence or absence of extended family in both locations

  • The wishes of the child, if he or she is able to appropriately express them

It is important to remember that you may not contest a move solely to frustrate your ex-spouse, and they also cannot do that to you. If your ex-spouse is found to be resisting the relocation solely to obstruct your plans, the court is likely to override the objections and allow you to move anyway.

Call a Kane County Family Law Attorney

Regardless of the nature of your move or your relationship with your ex-spouse, relocations almost always go more smoothly when there are legal professionals involved. The experienced St. Charles parenting time attorneys at Goostree Law Group understand the difficult balance that often needs to be struck in cases like this, and we will do our best to find a solution that works for everyone involved. Call us today at 630-584-4800 to discuss your case in a free, confidential consultation.



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