Removing Children from Illinois After the Custody Judgment is Entered

Life may seem easy for parents once a divorce or custody case is concluded. The judgment is entered, no more court dates are scheduled, and the parents are exercising their rights as outlined in their final Custody Judgment. Oftentimes, one of the parents announces that new opportunities have arisen and he or she wants to move to another state. This is relatively common in our increasingly mobile society. If one parent wants to move, the move can cause problems when there are children involved. Issues can arise when the parent seeking to move has primary residential custody of the child, or if a moving parent is faced with the difficult problem of exercising parenting time over state lines. When a parent wants to move away with a child, Illinois Courts say that the parent wants to “remove” the child. The first thing that parents should do when considering a potential move is to look at their Custody Judgment to see if it says anything about the right to remove a child to another region. Most Custody Judgments prepared by attorneys should have a “removal” provision. Sometimes Custody Judgments provide that parents cannot move more than ten miles away from a certain zip code, while other Custody Judgments will say that a parent cannot move out of Illinois. Some Custody Judgments are silent on the issue of removal. If the Custody Judgment does not provide guidance on the issue of removal or if it is ambiguous, then the parent seeking to remove the child may need to go to Court to ask its permission to remove the child to another state. It is not a good idea for parents to move first and obtain permission later. If the Court decides that removal is not in the child’s best interests, the Court could order the child to live with the parent who still lives in Illinois and could order the parent who moved to pay the other party’s attorneys’ fees. The parent who is not moving may also ask the court to stop the other party from removing the child. The parent seeking to remove the child must prove that removal is in the child’s best interests. This can be a difficult burden to meet depending on the circumstances. Removal is a complicated issue so it is important to have a family law attorney with experience handling these matters.

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If you are looking for legal advice and representation with an Illinois divorce, schedule a consultation with experienced Chicago divorce attorney, Tanya Witt, at (312) 500-5400 or

Representing men and women in Chicago divorce and child custody cases.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.