Moving (Relocating) With Children During a Divorce in Illinois

You have decided that you are going to divorce your spouse and can no longer live with him or her.  You wish to move out with your minor children.  Whether you are going to find your own place, or you are going to move in with family or friends, you need to handle it correctly.  Otherwise, it could negatively impact your divorce.

If you are planning to move with your minor children more than 25 miles away from your spouse, whether you remain in Illinois or leave the state, this move is called “relocation” under Illinois Divorce law.   In order to properly relocate, you must either have your spouse’s written consent or an order of court.  If you do not have either of these items, then your spouse can take legal action with the court, and a judge will likely make you return with the children to within 25 miles of your spouse or return the children to live with your spouse.  Attempting to relocate with the children without permission or court order could also negatively impact the eventual parenting time you may have with your children.  If you plan to move with the children but stay within 25 miles of your spouse, you can do so without violating Illinois’ Relocation law.

If you are moving more than 25 miles away, you want to follow the proper procedure for relocation.  First, you should attempt to obtain your spouse’s written permission.  In order to do so, you must send your spouse written notice of your intent to move at least 60 days before you intend to move.  The notice must at least include the following:  1) your intended move date; 2) your intended new address; and 3) the length of time you plan to relocate (whether permanent, indefinite, or for a set period).  If your spouse signs the notice, then  you must file the notice with the court.  You may then move without issue.  If your spouse does not sign the notice or refuses to give you permission, then the only way to properly relocate is to bring a motion before the court and request an order permitting you to relocate.

Bringing a motion to allow you to relocate is usually a complicated matter and typically results in a hearing before the court.  If you need to file such a motion, you should seek the advice of an attorney before doing so as preparing for such a motion and hearing without the help of an attorney will be very challenging.  Further, whether you have your spouse’s permission to move or not, consider the impact of moving on the parenting time you and your spouse will have and be prepared to discuss with your spouse, your attorney, and potentially the court your plan for minimizing the impact of the move on your spouse’s parenting time.  This may help to alleviate many of the isues that arise from such a move.

If you have any questions regarding these or other family law issues, please feel free to contact me at 630.434.0551 or at


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