Can I Move My Child's Residence Outside Illinois?

DuPage county, family law, Martoccio & MartoccioBeginning January 1, 2016, Illinois has dramatically changed on whether parents can relocate their children both beyond the borders of Illinois as well as within the State of Illinois.
Changing the child's residence to another State was previously known as "removal" which has now become known as "relocation".
The laws of removal or relocation of the child outside the State of Illinois, have had a roller coaster history in the last 35 years. Sometimes the Courts permitted relocation by the custodial parent by merely asking for it, whereas other times it was almost impossible for the custodial parent to move a child's residence outside of Illinois. Under the prior rules, the likelihood of being granted permission to move your child outside even varied between counties. DuPage County was well known as being a county of "golden handcuffs" The custody mother was granted excellent child support but rarely could remove the residence of the child outside the State of Illinois. Cook County on the other hand, for a time, was much more flexible frequently granting permission to relocate outside of Illinois, where the same side effects in DuPage county would result in a denial of relocation.
Up until now there was no restriction whatsoever preventing a custodial parent from moving a Child’s residence within the State of Illinois. It was not necessary to seek the consent of the other parent or the approval of an Illinois Court for an In-State change of a child's residence, regardless of how distant the child would be from the father [or noncustodial parent]. This is significant because Illinois is a large state. Illinois is, at its most extreme points is about 390 miles long from north to south and about 210 miles wide from east to west and covers an area encompassing nearly of 58,000 square miles. As such, a custodial parent had the legal freedom to move, perhaps several hours and hundreds of miles away from the Father. Leaving the noncustodial parent with little option to object to the removal of his child while on the other hand, the custodial parent could be blocked from moving 10 minutes further if the move was across the border of Illinois into Indiana, Wisconsin, or Missouri.
New Laws for Relocation
The New Illinois laws regarding relocating a child's residence focus mainly on the distance between the parents and how far the relocation is from the previous residence. Under the new guidelines a parent with physical custody of a child may move with the child without consent or approval:
  • Within Illinois, up to 25 miles, if the previous residence is in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will Counties;
  • Within Illinois, up to 50 miles, if the previous residence is in any other county; and
  • Outside of Illinois, up to 25 miles from the previous residence, regardless of county.
Relocation of Child’s Residence 25 miles from the Borders of Illinois
Illinois family courts will retain jurisdiction over the case when a parent chooses to move out of State, but within 25 miles. This is an interesting change in the law. Prior to the new law, once a parent was granted removal of the child's residence to another state, the new state became the "home state" of the child and any further court proceedings regarding the child's custody or visitation had to be brought in the new " home state" of the child. So if the mother was allowed permission to move to Indiana, under the old rules the father had to file any future petitions for changes in custody, in visitation, or enforcement of visitation in the state of Indiana. Now he can file for custody, visitation or to enforce his visitation in the County in Illinois where the parties were divorced despite the fact that the mother is living in another state.
Another interesting point brought about by the 25 mile rule, is that the Mother who after moving to Indiana later wants to move to yet another third state she has to ask permission of the Illinois court to do so and meet all the requirements. Under the prior law, if she was granted permission to relocate the child to Indiana she was then free to leave Indiana and go to any other state without seeking further permissions.
All other relocations with a child require the consent of the other parent or the approval of the court.
A word to the wise: Generally you have the right to object to your child's residence being moved to another State but you must do so right away since once again waiting until after it's a done deal will probably mean you have agreed to the relocation of your child. Our attorneys at Martoccio & Martoccio have had years of experience in visitation and custody cases involving custody parents relocating to other States.
We have litigated cases involving relocation by a custody parent of the party's child through the Illinois Supreme Court. Attorney John Martoccio of Martoccio & Martoccio wrote the Illinois Supreme Court briefs on behalf of a successful custody mother and assisted in the argument before the Illinois Supreme Court in the first Illinois Supreme Court case that dealt with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. In Re Marriage of Siegel, 84 Ill.2d 212: 417 N.E. 2d 1312: 1981 Ill. Lexis 246; 49 Ill. Dec. 289 (Ill. SC. 1981
John Martoccio has won a removal case for the father, compelled the custody mother to return the child Illinois and ultimately obtain custody for the father of his child. . In re Marriage of Gibbs, 268 Ill. App. 3d 962, 972-73, 645 N.E.2d 507 (1994).
If you are looking to move and have questions regarding the relocation laws of Illinois, The Law Offices of Martoccio & Martoccio can help you better understand. They have 35 years serving Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall & Will Counties in many areas of family law. Call 630-920-8855 for your free initial consultation.

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