Removal of Children From Illinois
DuPage County Child Custody Attorneys
Removal and custody of children are contentious issues often litigated in most paternity and divorce proceedings. At the conclusion of the proceedings, a custody order is memorialized in a court order. When a party seeks to modify the custody order in order to permanently remove a child from Illinois to another state, the dispute may become even more contentious and complex.
Removal in Illinois
After a divorce, separation, or custody dispute, a parent may wish to start a new life in another state with the minor child. Removal is the process by which one party seeks to relocate a minor child permanently from Illinois to another state. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding removal of the minor child, the party seeking to remove the minor child will need to file a motion requesting a court order to permit the removal. Currently there are no restrictions pursuant to statute regarding movement within Illinois. However, a proposed change to the law has been sent to the Governor for his signature. The proposed change would restrict custodial parents living in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties from moving more than 25 miles from the other parent. Parents in all other counties would be allowed to live within a 50 mile radius of each other.
Simply filing a motion for removal does not automatically guarantee that you will be granted permission to leave the state. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/609) governs the procedure regarding removal of a child from Illinois. The court may grant leave, before or after a judgment, to any party having sole or residential custody of any minor child to remove that child from Illinois if such removal is in the best interests of the child. The party seeking removal to another state has the burden of proof regarding whether the removal sought is in the best interest of the child.
The Court will consider several factors in order to determine whether removal is in the best interest of a child. Those factors are as follows:
- whether the move would enhance the general quality of life of both the custodial parent and the child;
- whether the custodial parent's motivation to move is intended to defeat or frustrate the noncustodial parent's visitation rights;
- the motivation of the noncustodial parent for challenging removal;
- the effect of the move on visitation rights of the noncustodial parent;
- potential harm that might result to the child as a result of the move; and
- whether a realistic and reasonable visitation schedule can exist if the court allows the move.
Those are not the only factors to be considered by the court, but the court must at a minimum consider those six (6) factors to make its finding regarding removal. A determination of the best interests of the child cannot be reduced to a simple bright-line test. Each removal case is unique. The courts will rely on specific facts on a case-by-case basis.
Career related relocation of the custodial parent (or the spouse of a custodial parent) is often a reason for a party to request permission from the Court to remove a child from the State of Illinois. Financial or family support for the custodial parent in another state is another reason the court may grant a request to remove. If removal is necessary to protect the safety of the child, the court may enter an order allowing the removal finding it is in the best interest of the child.
Custody Issues in Removal Matters
It is essential for each party to understand their respective custody judgment when considering removal of a minor child to another state. Even if you have been granted sole custody of your child by agreement or a court order, this does not mean you can simply remove the child to another state. Most custody judgments include language stating a child may not be permanently removed from the state unless the parties agree or a court order allowing removal is obtained. If the parties agree as to the removal of the child, they should file an agreed order outlining the agreement to remove and the new parenting time schedule for the non-custodial parent before removal of the minor child.
DuPage County Family Law Attorneys
It is paramount that you understand your legal rights when attempting to litigate the issue of removal of your child from the State of Illinois. At Mulyk Laho Law, LLC, our skilled DuPage County family law attorneys can help you with all of your custody and removal questions. We understand how complex child custody arrangements can be. Whether you are getting divorced and want to plan ahead for your children’s future or if you are trying to move out of state with your child, we can help. Our practice concentrates in a wide range of family law issues, including child custody, divorce, child support, and property division. Contact our Glen Ellyn family law office at (630) 852-1100 to learn more about your parental rights today.