Chicago Child Custody and Out-of-State Relocation

Child Custody and Out-of-State Relocation

By M. Scott Gordon

Are you considering Divorce in Chicago and thinking about moving out of Illinois? How will the court look at your request to leave the state after you’ve filed for divorce? Relocation is an issue that arises with some frequency in the Chicago area, as parents with custody of their children often seek to move to a new city for employment opportunities. So what do you need to know about leaving the state of Illinois with your kids?

Removal and Illinois Law

Under Illinois divorce law and the Parentage Act (for unmarried parents), the term “removal” refers to situations where a parent wants to move out of the state with his or her children. Depending on your particular situation, relocation can be a relatively easy process. However, family law issues often are quite complicated, and even if you have an amicable relationship with your children’s parent, it’s always a good idea to discuss your case with an experienced Illinois family law attorney.

Indeed, you should begin speaking to your attorney about your relocation plans as soon as possible. In some cases, this can be a relatively pain-free experience. First thing’s first: you must inform your ex-spouse that you plan to relocate out of the state of Illinois. Now, let’s say that you have a good working relationship with your ex-spouse. Once you’ve informed him or her that you’re planning to move to a new state, the two of you can develop a visitation schedule. If you and your ex-spouse can agree to a visitation plan, in most cases you’ll just need to submit that plan to the court for approval.

However, if you and your “ex” can’t agree to a visitation schedule, then you’ll need to go through a more lengthy legal process before you can hope to relocate. In such a case, the judge will consider what’s in the best interest of your child when making a decision about the child’s relocation and developing a visitation plan for the noncustodial parent. In such a case, you’ll need a dedicated family law advocate on your side who can fight for your rights.

Temporary Removals

If you’re not moving out of the state but simply want to take your child on a vacation outside of Illinois, that’s another matter altogether. If your divorce or custody case is already finalized, your current order should already have language that simply requires you to inform your child’s parent of the location of where the child will be staying, the duration of the child’s visit outside Illinois, and contact information for the child.

However, if your divorce or custody case hasn’t been finalized, it’s important to keep in mind that you may need to get permission from the child’s other parent or from the court to temporarily remove your son or daughter from the state of Illinois.   While the law does not prevent you from an out of state trip, it is important to handle it properly, so that you not only inform the other parent but seek his or her cooperation.  If nothing else, this will show the Judge that you are involving the other parent and behaving reasonably.

Child custody and removal laws are complex, and you should always discuss your case with an experienced Chicago family lawyer and Chicago family lawyer at the law offices of Gordon & Perlut, LLC. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist with your case.