This post was written by Sean Sullivan, head of the Family Law department at Appelman Law. Sean is committed to providing his clients with the best representation in a variety of civil matters. He has also served as volunteer law clerk with the Cook County Public Defender’s prestigious Homicide Task Force.
In my daily practice, one recurrent theme I deal with is parents who have moved out of state with their child, or are contemplating moving out of state with their child, and suddenly find themselves in a legal battle with their ex who opposes the move. It becomes particularly frustrating for clients when it seems the party objecting to the move is doing so “to get back at me and not because they really care about our child”. That very well may be, but my answer is always the same; in order to move, you have to get permission from the Court.
If the child was born in Illinois, or has resided in Illinois for the last six months, then Illinois has jurisdiction over the child. If Illinois has legal jurisdiction over the child, then the child cannot be removed from the state (on a permanent basis) without the permission of the Court. Your ex may be taking you to Court just to fight you and not out of concern over your child, but it is their legal right to do so.
What do I need to do if I want to move out of state and take my child with me?
You need to contact an attorney and seek their help in filing a motion with the Court asking for permission to remove the child from the state.
What if I am just taking the child out of state temporarily, do I need the permission of the Court?
Maybe. It depends upon the language that was agreed upon in the joint parenting agreement or the marital settlement agreement. Both agreements typically have some language that allows for removal of the children for short periods of time, but it is best to consult an attorney and have them review either your JPA or MSA to determine this for sure.
I already moved out of state, and did not get the Court’s permission. Is anything going to happen to me?
It is very likely you could be held in contempt by the Court for taking the child out of state without permission. You should attempt to return the child to the state as soon as possible and contact an attorney.
What factors does the Court consider in letting me move my child out of state?
There are many factors the Court takes into consideration and each can be given different weight by the Court. Overall, the controlling factor in the Court’s determination is what is in the best interest of the child.
I am getting remarried, how will the Court look at that?
The Court will consider that as one of the factors it makes in its determination of what is in the best interest of your child. Getting remarried or not getting remarried is not necessarily a predictor of what the Court will decide one way or the other.