Removal Of Children From The State

A divorced person who is subject to a parenting agreement or court order must obtain court approval before moving outside the state with the child on a permanent basis. The same rule applies to parents who were never married. Permanently leaving the state without obtaining court permission can lead to parental abduction charges and a mandate to return to Illinois, even if the other parent signed a written agreement. It is essential to obtain a court order so you can properly move a child outside Illinois.

The lawyers at Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C., serve clients in Peoria and Tazewell counties and throughout Central Central Illinois. We have experience representing parents in parental relocation and move-away issues. A child relocation case is very fact-driven and depends on how the parents can maintain a relationship with the child. We provide skilled advocacy for both the custodial parent wishing to move out of state and the noncustodial parent, helping reach a favorable resolution that puts the child's best interests first.

Moving Out Of The State

A parent may need to relocate out of state for a variety of reasons. Examples include a need to move for career or educational opportunities, to obtain specialized medical care for an illness, to serve in the military, or in order to be closer to extended family. When a parent who wants to move has a child with an ex-spouse or from a former relationship, a court order allowing the out-of-state move must be obtained prior to the move.

An out-of-state move has the potential to interfere with court-approved parental responsibility and parenting time ( custody and visitation) arrangements, so it is not unusual for the parents to disagree. This often leads to litigation at a most inconvenient time, given the desire of one parent to move and the equally strong desire of the other parent to keep the child close. In Illinois, a custodial parent has the burden of convincing the court to allow the child to be moved to another state.

Illinois courts use these factors to decide whether parental relocation to another state should be allowed:

  • The likelihood that the move will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial parent and the child
  • The motives of the custodial parent in seeking the move (to determine whether the removal is merely a ruse intended to defeat or frustrate visitation)
  • The motives of the noncustodial parent in resisting the removal
  • The parenting-time (visitation) history of the noncustodial parent
  • Whether a realistic and reasonable parenting-time schedule can be developed in the event the move is allowed

Parental relocation requests can be difficult, given the emotions involved. The move (removal) will not be permitted unless the parent seeking it provides thorough evidence that shows the benefits of the move for both the parent and the child, as compared to the benefits to the child of staying in Illinois, closer to the other parent. Such issues as the type of housing, job opportunities, quality of neighborhood and school, activities for the child and a well-considered plan to keep the child bonded with the parent who remains in Illinois must be addressed.

Attorneys Susan Butler, Kelly Giraudo and Tamara Meister represent both parents who wish to relocate out of state with a child, as well as parents who strongly disagree with the child moving away. If litigation is necessary, we will serve as aggressive advocates of your child's best interests and your parental rights.

Interstate Custody And Jurisdiction Issues

Moving out of Illinois with children presents unique jurisdictional issues. The court which handled the original family law case will retain jurisdiction unless a petition to transfer the case is granted. We can explain the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and how it affects your situation. We can help determine how best to approach a modification to your parental responsibilities, parenting-time plan and other divorce agreements.

Parental Relocation Consultation

To arrange a consultation with child custody attorney Susan Butler, Kelly Giraudo or Tamara Meister, call 309-263-1204 (Morton) or 309-407-3332 (Peoria), or contact our family law firm online.