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Illinois Child Removal Laws Changing

Posted on in Child Custody

relocation, child removal, Kane County Family Law AttorneyA parent with primary physical custody of his or her child in Illinois will soon be subject to more stringent limitations regarding a move to a new residence. The changes are part of a larger family law overhaul passed by the state legislature earlier this year, and signed in July by Governor Bruce Rauner. Scheduled to take effect in 2016, the new amendment looks to address a loophole of sorts that has existed for years in Illinois law that, as of now, gives a custodial parent the freedom to move anywhere in the state without prior approval.

Two-Parent Involvement

Most of the provisions regarding family law in Illinois emphasize the best interests of a child and the positive impact of a healthy relationship with both parents. In almost every situation regarding custody and visitation, a court is required to consider how its decision will affect the parent-child interaction for both the custodial and non-custodial parent.  The current law does address a parent who wishes to move with the child, but only if the move is to a location outside of the state. On in-state moves, the law is silent. This potentially means that a parent could move from northern Chicago nearly 300 miles to East St. Louis, and according the provisions in the law, be entirely within his or her right to do so. The only exception would be if the custody order in force specifically prohibited the move.

A move that far away, obviously, would likely have an enormous impact on the non-custodial parent’s ability to maintain a relationship with the child. Visitation schedules and custody orders would probably need to be modified as a result, but on a reactive basis instead of a proactive one. The other parent and the court would be able to do little to prevent such an occurrence.

New Geographic Restrictions

To address the apparent issue, the new law will require a custodial parent to seek the consent of the other parent prior to a move in excess of certain mileage restrictions depending upon the location of the child’s current residence. A move within the specified radius will not require approval. If the other parent will not consent to a move considered to be a "relocation," by the terms of the law, the court may override the refusal if the relocation is found to be in the child’s overall best interest.  The law defines a relocation as a move with a child of:

  • More than 25 miles from a current home in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties to a new home in Illinois;
  • More than 50 miles from a current home outside of the above-listed counties to a new home in Illinois; or
  • More than 25 miles from a current home in Illinois to a new home in another state.

A relocation will also be statutorily considered a "substantial change in circumstances" for the purposes of modifying child custody or support orders.

If you are considering a move with your child and are currently subject to a child custody agreement, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. The compassionate team at A. Traub & Associates will help you understand the ways in which the new law may affect your situation and work with you in pursuing the most beneficial opportunities available to you. When you have questions, we can provide the answers. Call today for a consultation at our Arlington Heights or Lombard office location.

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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