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How to Stop Your Ex-Spouse From Moving Out of State With Your Child

By Nottage and Ward on October 12, 2020

Divorce can be difficult, especially when you have to share allocation of your child or children. But there is nothing more heart-wrenching than receiving a notice that your former spouse plans to move out of state and take your child with them. After getting such a notice, you may be panicking, wondering what on earth you can do to make sure you don’t lose your child. Well, never fear, there are several solutions that may work in your favor.

The Legal Qualifications for a Relocation

When your former spouse decides to relocate and take your child with them, there are a few requirements they must meet in order for the move to be considered legal in Illinois. If they do not meet their qualifications, then taking your child could be considered an act of parental kidnapping. In order to legally move with the child, your former spouse must first notify you with a document that contains the following:

  • Their intended moving date
  • Their new address
  • How long they intend to stay at this new location, if it is a temporary move

The notice must be delivered to you at least 60 days before the move, unless the circumstances make that impossible, or your former spouse has a court order that gives different instructions. If you consent to the move, you should sign the notice, at which point your former spouse must also send the notice off to the court. Of course, you do not have to consent to have your child moved far away from you and can reach out to the court for aid.

Your Options

Your former spouse can only move with your child if you give your consent or the court chooses to overrule you and allow the move to happen. Once the moving notice is sent to you, you can object to it. When that happens your former spouse has two choices.

  1. Agree not to move with your child
  2. Send a petition to the court

If your former spouse chooses to send the court a petition asking for permission to move, the court will hold a hearing where both you and your former spouse will meet with a judge who will decide what will happen. The judge will take many things into consideration before reaching a decision.

For example, they may want to know why your former spouse is moving. If the move is simply to live in a new area, then the judge may not take too kindly to relocating a developing child who needs stability. On the other hand, if it’s for a new, better paying job that will allow your former spouse to take better care of your child, then the judge may see fit to allow the move to happen.

Ultimately, the judge will base their choice on what they feel is best for your child. Most judges will want to keep families together, as children develop best when supported by both parents. However, if the new house and neighborhood seem like they will provide a more enriching and safer environment for your child, then the judge may feel that the splitting up of the family is worth it for the child’s wellbeing. However, they may still require you both to abide by a strict allocation schedule such as having the child spend time with you during the holidays and summer.

Parental Kidnapping

While a child relocation is difficult enough, some parents choose to forgo asking permission altogether. When a parent runs off with their child, it is called parental kidnapping. Some parents may assume that they have the right to take their child wherever they please, but if they share allocation with another person, this just isn’t the case. Parental kidnapping can include taking the child for impromptu vacations, refusing to return the child once their legal visitation is over, or, in the case of relocation, ignoring the other parent’s objection and moving anyway.

If your former spouse is trying to move away with your child or has moved without asking for consent, then you need a dedicated Chicago child allocation attorney by your side. We at Nottage and Ward, LLP understand the emotional turmoil you are in right now. We want to offer you solutions that can help keep you as an active member of your child’s life. For expert help, call our firm at (312) 332-2915 today.

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