Prior to January 1, 2016, parents were free to move anywhere within the state of Illinois without leave of court. Often, this right given to a primary custodial parent caused hardship on the other parent who did not have equal or less parenting time. The only instance where a parent required leave of court was a move outside the state of Illinois. Then, a petition for leave to remove the child/children was required prior to the anticipated move, even if the move was a short distance over the Illinois border.
Subsequent to January 1, 2016, the law of removal or a parent’s relocation was completely changed. Now, if a parent who has the majority of parenting time or equal time intends to move their primary residence within the state of Illinois or outside the state, leave of court is required. The parameters of the required notice of relocation are if the moving parent intends to move more than 25 miles away from their current residence. The 25 mile rule is for parents living in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties. All other Illinois counties have a 50 mile rule.
These trigger moves also apply if the relocating parent is moving across state lines, which is a significant deviation from the prior law. So now, if a relocating parent wishes to move to Wisconsin and the move is within 25 miles from their prior residence, leave of court is not required, although the moving parent always must provide the other parent with new contact information.
If the moving parent meets the trigger mileage marks, then a formal notice must be prepared and filed with the court and sent to the other parent 60 days prior to the move or within a time reasonably practicable or court ordered. If the other parent signs the notice, that act will constitute agreement and no other action will be required unless modification of the allocation of parenting time is needed because of the move. If agreement is not reached, the moving parent will be required to file a petition with the court and the court will then consider the 11factors set forth in 750 ILCS 5/609.2 (g). A parent who has less than equal parenting time with the children has no obligation to seek permission from the court to move, however the other parent must comply with the notice requirements or face being assessed attorney’s fees incurred by the other party or having the good faith of the move put into question.