How Does Parental Relocation Work in Illinois?

Whether you’re a parent who wishes to relocate with your child, or you’re paying child support to the custodial parent and have shared child custody, it’s important to know the laws surrounding parental relocation in Illinois. It’s not always necessary for the court to approve a parent’s relocation with their child, however, when it is, the courts consider the following factors before making a decision: 

  • What are the reasons for the move? 
  • How will the move impact the child? 
  • What are the wishes of the child? 
  • Does the other parent object to the move and why? 
  • What kind of relationship does the child have with both parents? 
  • What are the educational opportunities in the current vs. the new location? 
  • Does the child have family close to the new location? 
  • Can the court reasonably allocate parental responsibilities between both parents? 
  • Will the child’s relationship with the other parent be affected and to what degree? 

When is Court Approval Needed to Move with a Child? 

Section 609.2 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs parental relocation. According to the IMDMA, court approval isn’t needed in some situations, but in others, it’s a requirement:

  • Whether or not state lines are crossed, court approval isn’t needed if the child lives primarily in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Kane County, or McHenry County and the move is 25 miles or less. 
  • If the child resides in a county not listed above and the move is 50 miles or less, court approval isn’t needed. Court approval is needed, however, if state lines are crossed and the move is 25 miles from the child’s home. 
  • A parent with the majority of parenting time or a shared amount (at least 146 overnights a year) may pursue relocation with the child. 

Does a Parent Have to Give Notice Before Relocating? 

If a parent wishes to relocate with a child and court approval is needed, they must provide a written notice to the other parent at least 60 days prior. This notice of relocation should contain information about the upcoming move, including the date, the new address, and whether the move is temporary or permanent. Once the other parent signs the notice, it must be submitted to the court. 

Failure to give proper notice can result in the court denying the parent permission to move with the child, as well as deeming them liable for the other parent’s associated court costs and attorney fees. 

How Does Moving Out of State Affect Child Support? 

All 50 states have adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which creates guidelines for the development, enforcement, and modification of child support orders across state borders. 

Prior to the UIFSA, more than one state court could modify an existing child support order for one family, which led to multiple versions of the same court order in different states. With the UIFSA in place, only one child support order can exist at a time. Employers are also required to acknowledge any wage-withholding orders, even if those orders were issued by another state. 

Turn to Conniff Law Offices for Assistance

Are you a divorced parent moving to another part of Illinois or across state lines? Or, did your ex-spouse relocate with your child without giving proper notice? Contact our team of family law experts at Conniff Law Offices, located in Chicago and Oak Park. We can answer any questions you have and provide the knowledgeable guidance you need. 

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