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Tips for Relocating With Your Child After an Illinois Divorce

 Posted on September 10, 2019 in Divorce

Cook County parenting plan modification lawyerDivorce often means many changes for both the couple that is ending their marriage and any children they have. In some cases, one of the parents may decide a change of scenery will be good for him or her as a way of moving on. In addition, a parent may want to move to be closer to family for support, or a job transfer may take him or her to another city or state. Regardless of the reasons, relocating with a child after a divorce can prove to be a difficult adjustment for all involved. Under Illinois law, in order for the custodial parent to move out of the state, he or she may require permission from his or her child’s other parent or from the court. 

Coming to an Agreement

In Illinois, the parent who wishes to relocate with the child must provide a minimum of 60 days’ notice (in writing) to the other parent. A copy of the notice will also need to be submitted in family court and include the date of the move, the location of the new residence, and approximately how long the relocation will last.

If the custodial parent receives approval from the child’s noncustodial parent to move out of the state, the parents can usually avoid further legal action, although the court will need to give final approval based on what is in the child’s best interests. It is important to put any agreement in writing and have it notarized. This helps make sure both parents are protected regarding parenting time (visitation) arrangements. 

Illinois law allows the noncustodial parent to contest the move. The court will evaluate various factors in determining whether the relocation is in the child’s best interests. If permission to relocate is granted, the couple’s parenting plan may be modified to address any required changes to parental responsibilities or parenting time.

Working Together for the Child

There are challenges to a parent and child relocation no matter the circumstances. The noncustodial parent may be bitter at finding him or herself hundreds or even thousands of miles away from his or her child. The parent who has the majority of parental responsibility can struggle to adapt to a new city, while the child may be upset about moving away. However, below are some steps for creating a parenting plan to make the transition smoother on everyone: 

  • Schedule parenting time during holidays and summers. Since the noncustodial parent will not be seeing his or her child on a regular basis due to being miles apart, it may be appropriate to schedule longer visits during holidays and/or during the summer when the child is off school. When determining this plan, consider how your child will get there: will they be driven by one parent or fly using air travel, and how will transportation expenses be split between parents? Making a fair arrangement will benefit all parties. 

  • Access to the child at your new house. Opening up your new home to your ex-spouse can help in providing a comfortable situation for your child. Offering that as an option for visits can go a long way in helping the child cope with not only the divorce but a cross-country move as well. 

  • Stay in contact through electronic communications. Modern technology allows people to communicate and see each other even if they live across the country. Cell phones and computers can be used to FaceTime, text, send emails, etc. Encouraging consistent communication between your child and his or her other parent is extremely important for maintaining a healthy parent-child relationship.

  • Share pertinent information. Keep the noncustodial parent informed about important school and extracurricular activities, sporting events, doctor appointments, etc., so he or she still feels involved in the child’s life. 

Contact a Cook County Divorce Attorney

Moving to another state after a divorce can mean a fresh start for a parent and his or her child. The parent who is allocated the majority of parental responsibility may be allowed to relocate, but a judge will typically only approve it if it is best for the child’s well-being. If you are the custodial parent and are considering relocating, or if you are the noncustodial parent and are facing less time with your child, it is important to understand the Illinois laws regarding each parent’s rights. A dedicated Oak Park parent/child relocation lawyer can assist you during this emotional process. To schedule a free consultation, call Wakenight and Associates, P.C. today at 708-848-3159.




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