There are two aspects to child custody: legal custody and physical custody. When one parent decides to move, the decision may impact both elements. Illinois’ dissolution of marriage codes regulates how custody arrangements work if a parent wants or needs to move out of the area.
The moving parent must follow a notification procedure. The other parent’s response — or lack of response — plays a role in the outcome.
Filing a notice of intent to relocate
The courts expect a parent who wants to move to act in good faith, which means that the move must be for legitimate reasons and consider the child’s best interests. The law requires the moving parent to provide a written notice to the other parent of the intent to relocate and file a copy with the court 60 days or more before the intended move.
Determining the outcome of child custody arrangements
When the other spouse agrees to the move and both parents agree on the subsequent alterations to the parenting plan, the judge generally signs off on the changes without requiring additional action. However, if the other parent does not sign the notice or disagrees with the move or alterations to the parenting plan, the parent who wishes to relocate must submit a petition for relocation to the courts. The judge considers several factors, including how the move impacts the quality of the parent-child relationship — before determining whether to grant permission for relocation.
Relocating at any time after a divorce involving minor children is a significant event requiring changes to the parenting agreement and plan. The law intends to ensure children’s needs are a priority consideration.