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I’m Preparing to Relocate My Child — Do I Need to Get a Post-Decree Modification?

When parents get divorced, they often have ongoing obligations to each other. Until all your children become adults, they may be subject to an agreement or court order.

In Illinois, there are strict rules and procedures for relocating a child subject to custody/visitation arrangements. You may be (or may not) be required to obtain a post-decree modification.

In this guide, our Naperville and Bolingbrook post-decree modification lawyers highlight the most important things parents should know about relocating a child after a divorce in Illinois.

Illinois Law: “Relocation” is Distinct from “Moving”

Illinois state law (750 ILCS 5/609.2(b)) permits a parent who has been allocated majority parenting time (or either parent who has been allocated equal parenting time) to seek an order that permits relocation of their child. In applying this statute to your situation, it is important to emphasize that ‘moving’ is not the same as a ‘relocation.’

If you are staying within your same town or neighborhood, you are merely moving. No affirmative legal action is required. However, if you are relocating to another area entirely (or another state) you may be relocating — that could require mutual consent or a post-decree modification from the court. Here is the basic legal standard for parents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will County: 

1. If you are staying within 25 miles of your current residence, you are merely moving. You are free to do so without following the relocation process.

2. If you are moving more than 25 miles from your current residence, you are relocating. You must obtain agreement from the other parent or seek a post-decree modification from the court.

Relocating Parent Must Give Notice

As a parent seeking to relocate a child who is subject to a custody/visitation agreement or order, you must give the other parent advance notice of your plans. The general rule is that you should give 60 days’ notice unless you are unable to do so because of shifting circumstances. To get a relocation approved, you have two options: 

1. Parental Agreement: Child relocations will be approved if both parents consent and draft up a revised parenting plan that accommodates the move.

2. Post-Decree Modification: If you cannot obtain consent from the other parent, you can file for a post-decree modification with the court. To get a modification approved, a parent must establish that allowing the relocation is in the best interests of the child.

When possible, it is always better to get mutual consent from the other parent. It will make the relocation process more efficient. Of course, an agreement is not obtainable in every case. If you have any specific questions about your legal rights, legal responsibilities, or the post-decree modification process, our Naperville and Bolingbrook family lawyers can help. 

Contact Our Illinois Post-Decree Modification Lawyers for Help

At Keller Legal Services, our family attorneys are skilled, compassionate advocates for parents. We have extensive experience handling complex custody and visitation cases, including child relocation issues. If you have any questions about post-decree modifications, we will get you answers. Contact us now to schedule a free, confidential evaluation of your case. We handle family law cases in Naperville and Bolingbrook and throughout the surrounding cities and towns in DuPage County.