Can I Move with My Children After My Illinois Divorce?

move-with-my-children-Illinois.jpgFollowing your divorce, you may need to relocate—move your children to another state or town. Frequently, remarriage to someone living in another location or the offer of employment for yourself or your new spouse triggers your need to move. But can you?

Before you think about moving your children to another home, or even before you divorce, consider the following advice.

Best Advice: You Need to Plan for the Move.

If you are planning a divorce, and are thinking about moving with your children to another Illinois town or out-of-state, you need to understand the New Illinois Divorce Law, Part VI Allocation of Parental Responsibilities—changes which took effect January 1, 2016.

Relocation of children in Illinois dramatically changed on January 1, 2016, when the Illinois legislature made a major overhaul of Illinois divorce law.

Relocation within Illinois

Prior to the January 1, 2016 changes to Illinois divorce law, you were free to move your children anywhere within Illinois without asking the consent of the other parent or the permission of an Illinois divorce Judge. After January 1, 2016, however, the new law restricts your move.

Distance Matters

You will need to consider this major factor—distance matters. How far do you and the children intend to live from your ex-spouse? After divorce, you will need to seek the permission of the other parent due to the January 1, 2016 changes. Distance will be the primary factor in determining if a parent needs the permission of the Court to move. If you and your child live Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will counties, then you can move anywhere within 25 miles of your present home without the permission of the court, even if the move is across state lines.

In all other counties in Illinois, a you can move up to 50 miles without getting prior approval of the court. However, longer distances (25 miles or more) from your current home will require you to file a Petition for Removal. If your ex-spouse agrees, then an order can be entered allowing you to relocate. If your ex-spouse objects, then the Illinois Divorce Judge will hold a hearing (trial) to determine whether the Judge will grant you the right to relocate.

What facts does an Illinois Divorce Judge consider in granted permission for a spouse to move outside of 25 or 50 miles limitations of the New Illinois Divorce law?

An Illinois Divorce Judge must find that your move overall is in the "best interests" your child or children. The Judge must consider the following:

  • Is there an important reason for the move?
  • What are the child's needs?
  • Where will the child's needs be met best?
  • Will the move improve or worsen the child's situation?

The Court must be persuaded that the overall lifestyle of the child will be improved by the move. The Court will consider whether your ex-spouse had exercised his or her granted parenting time before the move and how the move will affect your ex's ability to have the children after the move. This includes how often your ex-spouse will be with the child(ren).

What can I do in advance to help me be able to move with my children to a new home in Illinois? What if I am planning to remarry or I must find another job making more money after the divorce?

Plan in Advance.

As I have often said in my blogs, advanced planning is more valuable than gold. If you have enough time and plan well, then you have a much better chance of success.

  1. Make the Move Before the Divorce. Try to relocate before the subject of divorce even comes up with you and your spouse. If you are in the new home, even if your spouse does not give you permission in writing, the fact that he or she has allowed you to move and stay there for a time can be argued amounts to their consent to your relocation.
  2. Obtain New Employment in the Town You Wish to Move. This is best done before the divorce, and with the permission of your spouse, but nonetheless is a positive factor since you're better able to contribute to the welfare of your children if you have a better job.
  3. Make Sure Your Divorce Judgment Contains Permission for You to Move. Even though you may not have remarried or obtained employment in a new location, you can negotiate a provision in your divorce judgment allowing you to move in the future. This will avoid the need to have a fight with your ex spouse.
  4. Pick a Location That Has a Better School System Than Where You Are Now. One of the reasons for your move to a new city village or town could be a much better school system. Certainly a valid argument to make to persuade the Judge to let you live there in the future.

What can I do to stop my spouse from leaving with my children and relocating to a home far from me after the divorce?

  1. Do not let your spouse move before the divorce with your child—unless of course, you move with them.
  2. Exercise your parenting time religiously. In other words do not miss any time to be with your children. Do not simply warehouse your children when they come to be with you. In other words, engage with them in activities that they want to do and which they will then miss if you are not around.
  3. Be a great parent. If you have invested the time and effort and energy to interact with your child, the child may be your best witness. Sometimes we spend far too much of our time on other things such as our career, our friends and the activities we like instead of with our children. The child knows when you care because you are involved with them you do what they want to do and it becomes for fun for both of you. A great parent has a much greater chance of victory because a divorce judge knows that the child needs you.
  4. Do not let your soon-to-be ex-spouse push you around. If you are about to divorce or are in the process of divorce, it is easy to simply cave-in and let your spouse move to the new city, town or village. Many times I hear the phrase, “It’s not worth the fight.” That, in this situation, is most generally has worked for the fight. Your child needs both parents, especially you. Frequently the ex-spouse will try to make his or her new husband or wife the parent, taking over your job. You need to fight as hard as you can to stop that from happening and the way to do that is by improving your parenting skills. Moreover, following the filing of a divorce, a parent for the first time becomes father or mother of the year. When I hear this happened and I am not in the least bit upset. It is a good thing for a child to have a parent actively and enthusiastically involved.

If you have questions about moving with a child, or any other issue, then you need to speak with an experienced Hinsdale, IL family law lawyers right away. Please call Martoccio & Martoccio today at 630-920-8855 to schedule your consultation.

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