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My Ex is Relocating with Our Child – Can I Stop Them?

My Ex is Relocating with Our Child – Can I Stop Them?

By: M. Scott Gordon

Going through a divorce is difficult under any circumstances. It can be particularly tough on all parties involved when there are minor children from the marriage. It can take weeks, months, and sometimes even longer to have an official allocation judgment (custody), which outlines parental responsibilities and parenting time. The prospect of changing the status quo can be upsetting for parents and children alike. However, we often work with families when one of the parents is planning a relocation after the divorce and wants to take the child with them. In many of these circumstances, the other parent wants to know: If my ex wants to relocate with our child, can I do anything to stop them?

There is no simple answer to this question. In some cases, the parent may be able to relocate. However, if the court determines relocation is not in the best interests of the children, then the court will deny that parent’s request to relocate. To understand more about how your own case may play out, it is important to learn more about how relocation works under Illinois law.

Is Your Ex Actually Planning a “Relocation” Under Illinois Law?

Your ex certainly may be planning to move with your child, but does it count as “relocation” under Illinois law? This is the first issue to consider if you want to stop the relocation. In short, if your ex simply plans to move, it may not be to a location far enough away to count as a “relocation.” If the move is not considered a relocation under Illinois law, there is not much you can do to stop it. The following situations are considered to be “relocation:”

  • More than 25 miles away from child’s current primary residence if current primary residence is in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County;
  • More than 50 miles away from child’s current primary residence is current primary residence is not in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County;
  • More than 25 miles from child’s current primary residence and the new residence is outside the state of Illinois.

You Can Object to the Relocation Notice from the Other Parent

Under Illinois law, if your ex does plan to relocate, he/she must provide you with a notice that contains specific requirements under Illinois law. If your ex fails to provide you with the relocation notice within 60 days prior to the relocation and does not provide the appropriate information, the statute makes clear the court can consider that parent not to be operating in good faith and it can affect whether the court permits the parent to relocate.

If your ex (and your child’s other parent) does provide appropriate notice according to the statute, you do not have to sign it. In refusing to sign it, you can object to the relocation, requiring the court to determine whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child. If you object to the relocation, this will also force the other parent to file a petition seeking permission to relocate.

Once the parent seeking relocation files the petition, the court will look at factors governing what is in the best interests of the child to decide whether the relocation is appropriate. If the court decides the relocation is in the child’s best interests, your options are limited for preventing the move. However, you should always discuss your case with a family law attorney and should learn more about your options.

Contact a Relocation Lawyer in the Chicago area

If your ex is attempting to relocate with your child, you should get in touch with a Chicago relocation attorney as soon as possible. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates for more information about how we can help with your case.