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Can parents move away with children after an Illinois divorce?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | Co-Parenting |

Parents in Illinois generally have the authority to make decisions about their children’s needs with very little government oversight. However, once parents separate or divorce, the family courts and state law have some authority over parenting decisions.

Neither parent should engage in behavior that will negatively impact the other’s relationship with the children or violate the custody order. With rare exceptions for cases involving abuse, health issues and other extreme family challenges, Illinois parents living in separate households will typically have to share both parental rights and responsibilities, which will include giving both parents plenty of time with their children.

One parent moving far away or leaving the state of Illinois would negatively affect the rights of the other. Does a parent bound by a custody order have to worry about the other parent leaving with the children?

There are limits on relocations

Both state law and individual custody orders typically impose limitations on parents relocating with the children. Parenting plans may include provisions that require pre-approval for a move that would change the children’s school district or take them a certain distance away from the other parent. State law only governs moves that take the children out of the state. Generally, a parent hoping to move with the children will need the approval of the other parents for the family courts, and they will need to provide written notice about the proposed move at least 60 days ahead of time. If parents can agree that the move would be beneficial for the children, then they can cooperate for an uncontested modification.

If one parent wants to contest the desire of the other to leave the state or the area, they have an opportunity to respond to the courts and to protest the move. In that scenario, a family law judge will hear the case and make a determination about what would be in the best interests of the children. While keeping both parents actively involved is often the best option for the family, a judge may agree that a move would be beneficial if it would improve the family’s finances or reconnect the children with a social support network. The decision that the judge makes will then determine whether the relocation is possible and what other adjustments the custody order requires.

In some cases, parents may have to make major changes to their schedule and also to their support order when one needs to move far from the other. Seeking legal guidance an understanding what rules apply in a move-away scenario in Illinois may help those who share custody better advocate for their relationship with their children.



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