Can you take the children and leave after your Illinois divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2022 | Family Law

A divorce with children may take months to complete, especially if you and their other parent don’t agree about your parenting plan or the division of shared property. Once the courts approve a property division order and a parenting plan, you may start to think about the future.

It can be hard to think about the big picture while you are still in the process of ending a chapter in your life. Now that your full focus is on the future, you may realize you need to move if you really hope to move on from the divorce.

Maybe you have family in Wisconsin who will help you rebuild your life. Perhaps your employer is about to open a branch on the east coast and wants to offer you a managerial position. If you have a parenting plan that allocates parenting time to your ex, will you be able to move out of Illinois or to the other side of the state after the divorce?

Parenting plans usually limit relocations

In Illinois, it is typical for a parenting plan to explicitly limit how far parents can move. Trying to stay close to where the children lived prior to the divorce is usually the preferred solution, as it minimizes the disruption for the children. It also facilitates the active involvement of both parents.

If your relocation will take you out of the state or beyond the boundaries established in your parenting plan, you need to discuss the move with your ex. In fact, you need to provide them with written notice. You will have to send notice to the courts as well.

If your ex agrees that the move would be good and works with you to adjust your parenting plan, you may be able to request an uncontested modification to the plan that incorporates your new residence. If they do not approve it, then the two of you will have to go to court.

What determines the outcome in contested relocation cases?

As with any other decision involving the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, what matters most in a contested is what will be best for the children. The courts like to see parents burying time and other parental responsibilities, but that isn’t always the most realistic goal.

If the judge who hears the case agrees that the move would benefit the children, then they may approve it despite your ex’s objections. If they do not approve it, you may have to make a decision about whether to move and accept a reduction of your parental responsibilities or to defer the relocation for the time being.

Learning the rules that apply to relocation requests after a divorce with children can help you plan for a better future.


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