Relocation

When one parent wants to move away with the child, it is known as relocation, formerly called removal. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, permission from the court will be required. It will also be necessary to give written notice of the proposed relocation to the other parent.

Who can seek to relocate with a child?

Relocation with a child is governed under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) in 750 ILCS 5/609.2. The law provides that a parent with the majority of parenting time or with shared parenting time may seek a relocation.

When do you not need court approval to move with a child?

You may not need approval from the court to relocate, depending on where and how far you are moving and where you live with the child. Court approval is not required if:

  • The other parent agrees to the relocation and signs the notice of the proposed move (which must be filed with the court clerk);
  • The child’s primary residence is in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County and you are moving a distance of 25 miles or less;
  • The child’s primary residence is in a different county, and you are moving 50 miles or less, unless state lines are crossed, and the move is more than 25 miles from the current primary residence.

What notice must be given to the other parent?

If the proposed relocation requires approval from the court, you must give the other parent at least 60 days’ written notice (or at the earliest possible time if less than 60 days). Information contained in the notice must include:

  • Date of the intended move
  • Address of the intended new residence
  • Duration of the relocation (unless it is permanent or indefinite)

If the other parent signs the notice, you do not need approval from the court to move with the child. Whether or not the other parent signed the notice, it must be filed with the clerk of the court where you obtained your divorce.

How do you seek court approval to relocate with a child?

If court approval is required, you must file a petition with the court for permission to relocate. After the petition is filed, a hearing date will be set. You must provide notice of the time, date, and location of the hearing to the other parent. The judge will decide whether to approve the relocation after the hearing. The court may appoint a Child Representative or Guardian ad Litem to represent the child’s best interest in the proceedings.

What factors does the court consider in determining whether to allow relocation?

As with all family law matters involving children, the court will determine whether to allow relocation based on the best interests of the child. Factors the court will consider include:

  • Reasons for and circumstances of the move
  • Reasons for the other parent’s objections to the relocation
  • History and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child
  • Whether a parent failed to exercise parental responsibilities allocated to him or her
  • Differences in educational opportunities of the current location and the new location
  • Extended family at each location
  • Impact of relocation on the child
  • Potential for reasonable allocation of parental responsibilities between the parents with the relocation
  • Wishes of the child
  • Whether the move will impair a parent-child relationship and if the impairment can be minimized
  • Any factors relevant to the best interests of the child

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