Child Relocation and Removal


In all court issues involving children, the most important consideration is protecting the best interest of the child—which is why Illinois courts carefully monitor where the child moves to maintain this best interest. When a child moves a significant distance, it must be approved by the court. Legally, this is called child relocation (previously known as child removal).

When a relocation removes the child from the jurisdiction of the original court, further legal action is required to protect the child’s interests in Evanston, Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. In order to uphold any pending or finalized judgments, such as parenting time or parental decision-making authority, the court must be aware of the child’s location and any changes to it.

The Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern has experience resolving child relocation cases in Chicago, Evanston and Illinois. From a fresh start to a new job, there are countless reasons to move with a child—and there are also many compelling reasons to prohibit the removal of a child. If you have any questions about child relocation, we are happy to walk you through the legal process and the best options in your case.

What is child relocation?

Simply moving to a new house or apartment doesn’t mean there is cause for a relocation case. In Illinois, relocation focuses on significant moves where the child may be in a new court jurisdiction. This includes:

  • Moves from either Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will County to a new residence that is more than 25 miles away
  • Moves from another Illinois county (not Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will) to a new home in Illinois that is at least 50 miles away
  • Moves to a new home outside of Illinois that is more than 25 miles away

Relocation only needs to be addressed if the child moves with the parent who has the majority parenting time. If the parent without majority parenting time wishes to relocate, the court does not need to be involved since this relocation doesn’t change the child’s primary address or enrollment in a new school.

Of course, a move by either parent may result in a substantial modification of his or her parenting time and parental decision-making authority. Contact our offices in Evanston and Chicago with any questions about those issues separate from child relocation.

Child Relocation Process in Illinois

Relocation occurs whenever a child has a legal relationship with the court. This happens when:

  • The parents are in the middle of a divorce
  • The parents are divorced
  • The parents have a Parental Allocation Judgment, which sometimes exists between parents who were never married

The relocation process in Illinois is defined by statute. It requires a parent to give 60 days advance notice to the other parent and file a copy with the court. The notice must provide the intended date of relocation, the new address and the length of time the relocation will last.

Once notice is received, the non-relocating parent can either consent or object. If the non-relocating parent objects or does not consent to the move, the parent seeking to relocate must file a petition with the court.

Under certain circumstances, the court may decide that the move is not in the child’s best interest. In that case, the court may decide to rework the parenting time or parental allocation agreement so that the child stays in his or her current city.

Contact an Evanston Family Law Firm

For help filing or responding to a notice of relocation, contact the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern in Evanston and Chicago, and we will guide you through the process. Request a free consultation online or call us at (847) 868-9584.

Our boutique family law firm is based in Evanston and serves clients across Chicago and the North Shore, including Skokie, Winnetka, Wilmette and Glenview.

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For a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern at (847) 868-9584 or contact us.