If you have recently gotten divorced, you may wonder whether you can leave Illinois and move to another state with your minor child. After all, without your marriage keeping you here, you may want to move closer to family, pursue other job opportunities, or simply go somewhere with winters that do not require you to dig your car out from under two feet of snow.
But relocation is much more complicated when there is a minor child and a court-ordered parenting plan involved. If you want to relocate with your child and explore the potential to change your custody order in your new state, you need to understand the rules about child relocation as well as when Illinois retains jurisdiction over a child who lives out of state.
Can I Move My Child Out of Illinois After Divorce?
Unless you are the only parent with parenting time and parental responsibilities, you cannot unilaterally decide to move your child out of state. Your parenting plan likely has specific rules about when you can relocate with your child, and it is important that you follow those rules exactly. Leaving the state without permission from your child’s other parent or the court can result in having your child physically removed from you by law enforcement, as well as having a negative impact on your own parenting time or parental responsibilities in the future.
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Enforcement Act
In order to preserve uniformity between states as parents and children relocate, the UCCJEA was enacted. All states, except Massachusetts, follow this law. The UCCJEA states that the place where the child has lived for the previous six months is where the divorce happens, and the results of the divorce – the parenting plan – will determine where the child lives after that.
You may be able to get permission from the court if your justification for moving is substantial enough and it would not go against the child’s best interests. However, moving out of state with your child does not absolve you or your child’s other parent of the responsibility to follow your Illinois child custody order and the new state does not automatically have jurisdiction over the children. Generally speaking, both parents will have to move out of Illinois for Illinois to stop having jurisdiction over matters concerning the children.
Meet with a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer
Understanding state jurisdiction is an important part of understanding when and how you may be able to make changes to your Illinois parenting plan. For help exploring your options and for legal advice ensuring your actions remain within the bounds of the law, contact The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. at 630-462-9500 to schedule a comprehensive consultation with a Wheaton, IL child relocation attorney.