After your divorce is finalized, you may be looking for a fresh start, perhaps in the form of a change of scenery. However, if you share children with your ex, relocating after your divorce is not as simple as picking a spot on the map. You should think carefully about whether the move is in your children’s best interests, and even if you decide that relocation is the right decision, there are important procedures you must follow to ensure your relocation is legal.
Possible Reasons for Relocation
Moving with your children after a divorce is a major decision that affects your entire family. However, there are situations in which it may make sense. For example, relocation can be a good decision if:
- The move allows you to better provide for your children. You may have a good case for relocation if you are moving to accept a job offer that advances your career and increases your income, or to pursue higher education that increases your job opportunities.
- The move allows you or your children to pursue an important opportunity. If the reason for your move is directly related to your children, perhaps to allow them to attend a better school or participate in a cherished extracurricular activity, you may have a good case that the move is in your children’s best interests.
- The move brings you closer to extended family. Relocating closer to your family not only gives your children the opportunity to build stronger relationships with them, but may also give you access to a better support system that can assist in the raising of your children.
- Your children are able to maintain their relationship with the other parent. Presuming that your ex is a fit parent, it is important that your relocation does not damage your children’s relationship with him or her. If you choose to move, you should work with your ex to update your parenting plan and arrange for regular travel so that your kids can still spend time with both of you.
Obtaining Approval for Relocation in Illinois
If you plan to move with your child out of state or at least 25 from your current home (50 miles, if you already live outside of the immediate Chicago area), you will likely need to obtain legal approval to do so. First, you must provide reasonable written notice to the other parent, usually at least 60 days before the move. From there, the best-case scenario is that your ex consents to the relocation and is willing to work with you on an updated parenting plan. However, if your ex does not consent, you will need to file a petition for relocation and demonstrate to the court that the move is in your children’s best interests.