It’s illegal to leave Illinois with your child after a divorce

Your divorce has finally been finalized. A difficult, emotional chapter of your life has just ended, and a new future is waiting for you and your child. Be careful when making plans, though. Unless you’ve been awarded sole legal and physical custody, there is a good chance that moving out of Illinois with your child is currently illegal.

Whether you’re interested in the fresh start that comes with a new location, are seeking a new career position or have personal reasons for wanting to leave the state, know that you will need court approval to do so.

Child removal

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, just because you were awarded custody of your child does not mean that your ex should be cut off from contact with them. This does not mean that it is impossible for you to move out of state, you will just have to present a compelling argument for why you should be allowed to leave to a court.

Courts are not inherently biased in one direction or another in these types of cases – though your motives are a factor – their concern is what is best for the child. If you are considering going to court for child removal, consider speaking to a skilled family lawyer. They are experienced in these matters, and can assist you.

What to expect

During your removal request the court will consider many things including:

  • Your motive for the move – If you are moving to secure a job with considerably higher pay, then this will likely hold more sway with the court than if you were leaving solely to keep your child away from your former spouse.
  • Existing visitation rights – How frequently your child’s other parent visits is also taken into account. The court may be more on your side if the noncustodial parent only visits once a month versus every weekend.
  • Quality of life for your child – This is ultimately what the court is most interested in. Proving that moving out of state will dramatically increase your child’s quality of life can go a long way in your removal request.

Situations in life change, and they can change quickly. Each situation is different when you’re in court, but if you have a legitimately good reason to request removal, it will most likely only help your case. Keep this in mind as you prepare to request court approval to move your child out of Illinois.