Sunday, May 13, 2012


   You are marrying someone who lives out of state, and you want to move in with them. Or you got an outstanding job opportunity in another state. Or maybe you just wanted to move to a place where you enjoyed a vacation. Your children are still minors, can you take them out of state where they now live?

    First, you must look at the specific language in your divorce judgment or parenting agreement. Your divorce may have already anticipated this situation, and you might find some guidance there. Many divorce judgments, however, will not allow a parent to move children out of state without court permission.

   Unless the language of your divorce judgment says otherwise, Illinois law prohibits moving children out of state unless the custodial parent can prove that the move is in the best interests of the children. What that means depends on the specific facts of your case.

   The Illinois Courts have looked at whether a move would enhance the quality of life for the custodial parent and the children. For example, are you moving because of a significant job opportunity that would raise the family’s standard of living? Are you moving because you intend to remarry and your new marriage would improve your children’s financial security or allow you to spend more time with them? Are there health reasons for making a move?

   You cannot move simply to get away from the non-custodial parent or keep the other parent from seeing your children, or because you’d just like to live somewhere else. You may be denied permission to move if travel between your children and your ex-spouse is too difficult.

   If you do seek permission to move, you must show an effort to promote the relationship between your children and your ex-spouse. Your ex-spouse may have less frequent visitation, but for longer periods. For example, your ex-spouse may get the children for the summer to make up for lost time during the school year. You may also have to pay the children’s transportation costs to visit your ex-spouse.

If you have questions about this or another domestic relations matter, please contact Zachary W. Williams at 1-312-981-0851 or email