Can parents move out of state with children after a divorce?

A parent may be able to move out of state if he or she gives the proper notice, gets approval, has a good reason and stays somewhat close by.

When Illinois couples divorce, they may think their legal interactions are over once the process is finalized. However, couples with children remain legally intertwined for years to come. Once simple actions, like moving, become impeded by red tape. Even though the process of moving is more complex after a divorce, it is not necessarily impossible. A parent may even be able to relocate out of state with his or her children.

With proper notice

Anyone who shares custody of a child with another person will not be able to move in the spur of the moment. He or she will need to follow the proper protocols to ensure the relocation is legal. For example, in Illinois, a mother or father must give the other parent written notice at least 60 days prior to the move, according to the Illinois General Assembly. This notice should include the intended move date, the location of the move and the duration of the move.

With the approval of the other parent

If the two parents can communicate well and agree on the move, the courts involvement in the move may be minimal. For example, if a mother wants to move out of state for a better job, the father may sign the relocation notice to give her his blessing. This signed notice should then be filed with the court to show the proper steps have been taken before the move is finalized.

For a good reason

A person's reasons for wanting to move is important when children are involved. The non-relocating parent may not want his or her children to leave the state simply so his or her ex can be closer to a new boyfriend or girlfriend. A good reason to move may include the following:

  • Getting closer to family for additional support with the children.
  • Having access to a better job.
  • Giving the kids better schooling options.

Even with a well-thought out reason, parents are not guaranteed an approval for a move because it may change the custody agreement too much.

To certain locations

Finally, the end location of a move is important. If a father wants to move with his children from Illinois to California, for example, the mother may feel like that puts too much distance between her and the kids. On the other hand, if the same father wanted to move to Missouri, the mother may be more willing because the children will still be a day's drive away. The location of the move may not be dictated by the courts, but in some situations certain locations may be deemed as inappropriate for children.

An Illinois parent with part- or full-custody may be able to move out of state after a divorce. Anyone wanting to make this type of move should work with a knowledgeable attorney.