Your Ex Left Illinois with Your Child Without Your Permission | What to Do

child illinois

Coparenting can be difficult, even when your child’s other parent lives just a few miles away. The task of raising your child gets exponentially harder when one parent wants to move out of state, not the least of which because it requires the parties to revisit the child custody arrangement. But what are you to do if your former spouse leaves Illinois without your permission or that of the Family Court judge? If you are asking yourself that very question, please read on, then contact an experienced Tazewell County child custody lawyer to learn what you can do if your ex leaves the state of Illinois with your child without permission.

Can your ex take your child out of Illinois without your permission?

In the Prairie State, it may be illegal for your ex to take your child out of state, even temporarily, without permission from the judge and/or consent of the other parent, i.e. you. In order to relocate, the custodial parent must give notice of relocation and provide the other parent with the following information:

  • The circumstances and reasons for the intended move
  • The reasons, if any, why a parent is objecting to the intended relocation
  • The history and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child, and specifically whether a parent has failed or refused to assume parental responsibility
  • The educational opportunities for the child at both the existing and proposed new residences
  • The presence or absence of extended family at both the existing and proposed new locations
  • The anticipated impact of relocation on the child
  • Whether the court will be able to fashion a reasonable division of parenting responsibilities if the relocation occurs
  • The wishes of the child, depending on the child’s age, maturity and ability to express a rational and independent preference
  • Possible arrangements given each parent’s resources, i.e. financial resources, and the child’s developmental level
  • The extent to which a parent-child relationship will be diminished if the move is allowed
  • Any other relevant factors that may shed light on the child’s best interests

As you can see, even the custodial parent must surmount a number of legal hurdles in order to lawfully relocate. Even so, noncustodial parents have no such privileges and may face penalties for unilaterally relocating with the child.

Is it a crime for your ex to unilaterally relocate your child outside of Illinois?

It can be. According to Illinois law, a noncustodial parent taking a child out of state without the permission of the custodial parent or the court may constitute parental kidnapping. This offense, also known as “interference with custody of children,” occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child under the age of 18 years from the custody of their parent, guardian or another lawful custodian, when he or she has no privilege to do so. Parental kidnapping is a class 4 felony in the state and carries a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If your ex takes your child out of state without due consent, he or she turns a civil dispute into a criminal matter.

Even though the police will most likely be involved in this matter, you would be wise to reach out to a skilled Tazewell County family law attorney. Our firm can also help work to prevent this from happening in the first place. Let us fight for your child’s best interests.

Contact Our Experienced Illinois Firm

At Butler, Giraudo & Meister, P.C., our divorce lawyer will help you navigate the divorce or family law matter you are facing. We provide effective and compassionate legal counsel for the following legal matters: divorce, alimony, division of marital assets, child custody, and child support. Contact us today.

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