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Oak Park, IL child custody attorney for parental relocationA parent’s worst fear is waking up one day and finding their child is gone. The only way that most parents can foresee this happening is if their child is abducted by a stranger. However, kidnapping can also be done by someone you know, including your child’s other parent. If one parent decides to move to a new location with the child without the other parent’s permission, they are kidnapping their own child. In some cases, parents may choose to move with their child without realizing that this could pose an issue, but it is important to understand that a distinct legal process must be followed in parental relocation cases.

What Is Parental Relocation?

The state of Illinois does not restrict parents from moving down the street or across town with their child, and many recently divorced parents will move from their previous residence to pursue a fresh start as a single parent. However, if a parent who has primary custody of their child, or who shares custody with the other parent, plans to move a certain distance, they must receive permission from either the other parent or from the court to ensure that both parents can continue to share in parental responsibilities and parenting time. The following situations are considered parental relocation under Illinois law:

  1. The child lives in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will County, and their new home will be more than 25 miles from their previous residence;
  2. The child lives in a different county than those listed above, and their new home will be more than 50 miles from their previous residence; or,
  3. The parent is moving outside of Illinois, and their new residence will be more than 25 miles from their previous residence.

How Can a Relocation Get Legally Approved?

There are multiple ways to have a parental relocation request approved, not all of which require going to court. Every intended relocation that falls into one of the 3 categories described above requires that an official request be filed with the court and sent to the child’s other parent. This notice must be provided 60 days before the intended move, and it should include the relocation date, the new address, and the intended length of stay if the move will not be permanent. 

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Hillside post-divorce relocation attorneyThere are many reasons why a person would want to move after they have completed a divorce. Getting a new job, starting a new relationship, moving closer to family, or just getting a fresh start are all common reasons why people choose to relocate to a new home. However, when you add children into the picture, relocation could become more complicated. You cannot just pick up and move with your child if you have an existing parenting plan in place. You must first request permission to relocate from the child’s other parent. Then you must request permission to modify your parenting plan from the courts. Taking the correct steps when you are moving is the key to a successful relocation.

Notifying the Other Parent

If you have been allocated a majority of the parenting time or an equal amount of parenting time as your child’s other parent, you can request to relocate with your child. To do so, you must first provide a written notice of the relocation to your child’s other parent, and provide a copy of the notice to the clerk of the circuit court where you were divorced. The notice should be given at least 60 days in advance of the intended relocation, and it should include the date of the intended relocation, the address of your new residence, and the length of time the relocation will last (if it is not permanent).

If your child’s other parent consents to the relocation, they should sign the notice they receive and return it to you, and then you should file the signed notice with the clerk of the circuit court where you were divorced. If the court agrees that this relocation is in your child’s best interests, your parenting plan will be modified to reflect the relocation. If your child’s other parent does not consent to the relocation, you will then have to file a petition to relocate with the court.

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