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Relocation with Kids: Can I Move to a New House After My Divorce?

Relocation with Kids: Can I Move to a New House After My Divorce?

By: M. Scott Gordon

Divorce in the Chicago area is often difficult regardless of whether there are children from the marriage, and divorce often becomes more contentious when kids—and matters of parental responsibilities and parenting time—come into the equation. One of the most difficult matters surrounding divorce and minor children is the issue of relocation. In some cases, parents simply want to relocate and want to move to a new house, city, or even state in order to get a fresh start. In other scenarios, one of the parents might receive a new job offer that would require a relocation. Regardless of the reasons for the relocation, is it even possible to relocate with kids after a Chicago divorce? And if so, what is required in order to relocate?

Distinction Between Moving and Relocating Under Illinois Law

If you and your spouse have recently gone through a divorce and already have an allocation judgment or a parenting plan that allocates parental responsibilities and parenting time, it may be possible to relocate with your kids. However, it is important to understand how the law defines “relocation.” Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDA), relocation is defined as one of three situations:

1. Changing the child’s residence from a current residence in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County to a new residence in Illinois that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current residence;

2. Changing the child’s residence from a county other than those listed above to a new residence in Illinois that is more than 50 miles from the child’s current residence; or

3. Changing the child’s residence from a current residence to one outside the state of Illinois and one that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current residence.

If any of the above situations is applicable to you, then you are in fact seeking relocation. However, if you currently live in Cook County and simply are considering moving to a nearby home in a suburb in DuPage County, for example, you may not need to “relocate” according to the law. Simply moving to a new residence in relatively close proximity to the current one is not necessarily a relocation under the IMDMA. If your move is not a “relocation,” then you can move without asking the other parent’s permission or seeking permission from the court.

Steps a Parent Must Take in Order to Relocate with Kids

If your move does fit under the Illinois law definition of “relocation” (one of those three scenarios listed above), then you must do the following in order to relocate:

  • File a Notice of Relocation and give the child’s other parent a copy of that notice at least 60 days before you plan to relocate.
  • Determine whether the other parent agrees to the relocation—if so, the other parent can sign the notice, and you can file it with the court. If the other parent agrees, you do not need to seek permission from the court to relocate. However, you may need to have the court change your allocation judgment of the court originally allocated parental responsibilities and parenting time.
  • In situations where the other parent does not agree to the relocation, then you must file a Petition to Relocate, through which you ask the court for permission to relocate with your kids. Filing this petition will lead to a hearing in which the court will take into account a variety of factors in determining whether a relocation ultimately is in the best interests of the child.

Contact a Chicago Relocation Lawyer

If you need assistance with handling a planned relocation, a Chicago family lawyer can speak with you about your case. Contact M. Scott Gordon & Associates for more information.