Planning Parent and Child Relocation in Accordance With Illinois Law

Posted on in Divorce

When parents divorce, the chain of cause and effect extends far into the future. Where there was once a unit, with each parent a party to mutual decision-making and sacrifice for vocational and educational opportunities, there are now separate, often largely independent spheres. Where one parent occupied an at-home role, both parents may now either need or want to work. Where there was a stable support network of grandparents and other relatives, there may now be more tenuous circumstances.

Changes such as these reflect only a few of the variables in play following divorce – changes that may require or inspire one parent to look outside of the Chicago area or the state of Illinois for employment, educational opportunities (for him or herself or their child), and family support. Importantly, however, a divorced parent cannot just uproot and leave with their child in tow. The parental responsibility arrangement entered in their divorce decree must be honored, and modifications related to child relocation must be sought and obtained using formal processes in compliance with state guidelines.

Defining Relocation Under Illinois Law

Under Illinois law, “relocation” occurs in one of the following three cases:

  • If the current primary residence of the child is in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, Will, or McHenry County, and their new in-state residence will be at least 25 miles from the current residence;
  • If the current primary residence of the child is in any other county within the state, and their new in-state residence will be at least 50 miles from the current residence; or
  • A move to any out-of-state residence that is at least 25 miles from the current residence (regardless of the Illinois county the child currently resides in).

To lawfully engage in any one of the above described relocations, a parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time or with whom there is equal parenting time must secure the consent of the other parent or formally petition the court for a post-divorce modification. Here, communication is key, beginning the written notice 60 days in advance of the anticipated relocation. Adequate notice should include:

  • The date a parent intends to move;
  • The address of the residence they intend to move to;
  • The length of time they intend to be at the new residence (if the move is only temporary in nature).

Support in Your Time of Relocation

If parents agree to a child’s relocation, they can submit this agreement to the court, and if the court believes the move is in the child’s best interests, their divorce decree will be modified accordingly. However, when one parent objects to a child’s relocation, the other parent must petition the court requesting to relocate, and a judge will decide whether to grant or deny the request, taking factors such as educational opportunities and family relationships into account.

If you are planning to move to a new home with your child, or if you want to make sure your relationship with your child is not negatively affected by a move, the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC can work with you to protect your rights and advocate for your and your child’s interests in court. Contact a West Chicago divorce lawyer today at 630-836-8540 to schedule a free consultation.