Removal of Children

Removal of Children from Illinois

For a parent who is (or was) married to the other parent of a child, a court in Illinois must grant permission to remove that child permanently from the state. Section 609 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Of Marriage Act guides the court, and a parent may seek to remove a child from the state both during a divorce or afterwards. It should be noted that, although many sections of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act apply to unmarried couples, our courts have ruled that section 609 does not apply in cases involving unmarried parents. This is a very important consideration in custody cases involving such unmarried parents. Please see our articles regarding custody and paternity.

Section 609 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that:

  • 609 (a) The court may grant leave, before or after judgment, to any party having custody of any minor child or children to remove such child or children from Illinois whenever such approval is in the best interest of such child or children. The burden of proving that such removal is in the best interest of such child or children is on the party seeking the removal. When such removal is permitted, the court may require the party removing such child or children from Illinois to give reasonable security guaranteeing the return of such children.

Beyond the specific language of the statute, courts in Illinois have developed specific guidelines to assist them in determining if a parent should be granted permission to remove a child from the state of Illinois. Such considerations include:

  • The likelihood that the move will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial parent and the children;
  • The motives of the custodial parent in seeking to move (is it to frustrate visitation?);
  • The motives of the non-custodial parent in opposing the removal;
  • Visitation is very important and is in the best interest of the children: can it reasonably be preserved after a removal?

Ask an experienced Attorney for guidance

For any parent who desires to seek court approval to remove his or her child from the state, it is important to seek the advice and assistance of an attorney to help in the planning of such a move. As can be seen from the guidelines listed above, our courts pay special attention to the motivations and forethought put into such a move by the parent as well as its effect on the child.

Email a Divorce Attorney in Chicago at the M. Scott Gordon & Associates family law firm for more information or call our Chicago office at 312.360.0250 or our Skokie Office at 847.329.0101 .

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