Child Relocation Outside Illinois

Prior to 2016, relocating with a child out-of-state was called “removal” and required either consent from the non-custodial parent or permission from the court. For example, a parent attempting to move from Calumet City, Illinois, to Hammond, Indiana, a distance of less than 4 miles, could not do so without consent or court permission. Yet, under the former law, a parent could move from Waukegan, Illinois to Carbondale, Illinois, more than 370 miles away, without any legal requirement for consent from the other parent or permission from the court.

As of January 1, 2016, this all changed. The Illinois legislature revised the portion of the family law statute regarding relocation of a child, what was formerly known as “removal.” Now, the law determines whether a parent is attempting relocation of a child based upon the proposed distance of the child’s move from his or her current primary residence. This change was implemented to attempt to remove the sometimes arbitrary results that would occur by categorizing “relocation” as only occurring when a party moved with a child outside of the state of residency.

In returning to the previous example, under the current statute enacted in 2016, a parent moving a child from Calumet City, Illinois to Hammond, Indiana, would no longer be considered a “relocation.” Therefore, no consent from the other parent or permission from the court would be required. Conversely, moving a child from Waukegan, Illinois (in Lake County, Illinois) to Carbondale, Illinois, would require consent or permission, as it is a move of greater than 25 miles from the child’s primary residence.

Once a divorce or parentage case has been filed, a parent cannot relocate a child from his or her primary residence unless the proper procedures are followed. Those procedures are set forth in our discussion of Relocation within Illinois.

If a parent relocates outside of Illinois with a child 25 miles or less from the child’s current primary residence, Illinois will continue to be considered the child’s “home state” under federal law (the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act”), and any future moves of the child must be done in accordance with Illinois law. Illinois would also remain the child’s home state for purposes of any future modifications to the parties’ parenting agreement or other child-related issues that could arise. This means, any future court proceedings would take place in the Illinois court that originally decided the case.

Obtaining permission from the court for child relocation from his or her current primary residence can be a difficult, challenging process, and must not be taken lightly. It is therefore imperative that you consult with a knowledgeable, experienced attorney like those at Kollias & Giese, P.C., before attempting to relocate with a child.

The attorneys at Kollias & Giese, P.C. are well-prepared to answer any questions you may have about your rights, obligations, or the process of child relocation in general. If relocation is an issue if your case, you should contact us to schedule a free consultation.

For a free 30–minute initial consultation, please call (630) 407-1200, or complete our online intake form.