No part of the divorce process causes more contention than the topic of child custody. If one parent perceives that the other parent is trying to isolate the children from them, it can lead to great conflict and even attempts to modify the custody arrangement in the court. If you have custody of the children and you are planning on moving – and you want to try to avoid going to court over it – it’s best to know how far Illinois law permits you to move without first seeking the permission of either your ex-spouse or the court.
Legal restrictions on relocation
Illinois family law lays out restrictions on relocation with children. These restrictions only apply to the parent with a majority of parenting time.
This means that, if you have full custody, or if you share joint custody with your ex-spouse but the children spend more than half of their time with you, you must comply with the law. If you have the children for less than half the time, you may move freely without prior approval.
Even if you have the children for the majority of the time, you don’t have to file anything with the court or ask permission if the move is within a certain distance.
If you live in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will County, you can move up to 25 miles without permission. If you live in any other Illinois county, you can move up to 50 miles without permission.
The notice requirement
If you have the children for a majority of the time, and you intend to move farther than the above-mentioned distance, you’ll have to give notice of your intent to move to the court and to your ex-spouse. Your ex-spouse will then have the opportunity to object to your move.
If that happens, then you will have to negotiate a new custody arrangement and visitation schedule with your ex-spouse. If you are unable to come to an agreement, then you will have to return to court in order to have a hearing on the matter.
Child custody and parental visitation is an emotionally charged topic, and it can be extremely difficult for ex-spouses to come to agreements on the matter. Knowing how far you are allowed to move without engaging in notice requirements and potential court hearings can help you to plan your move to go as smoothly as possible.