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Five Little-Known Facts About Move-Away Modifications in Illinois
16 Jul, 2024
Child Custody

Five Little-Known Facts About Move-Away Modifications in Illinois

In the mid-2010s, Illinois lawmakers substantially and repeatedly revised the state’s move-away modification laws. Many people move at least once every four or five years. Frequently, these relocations involve young children. State law dictates that these moves must be in the best interests of the children. That is usually different from the best interests of the parents.

Because of all these changes, many people are confused about their rights and responsibilities. Indeed, there are some obscure provisions in the law of which some people are not aware. A Schaumburg child custody lawyer does more than represent you in court. An attorney also gives you solid legal advice, so you can make the best possible decisions.


Most people know that residential parents often need court permission to move a long distance. But did you know that non-residential parents also need this permission, at least in many cases?

The law applies to “either parent who has been allocated equal parenting time.” This provision does not define “equal.” But in this context, the E-word probably does not mean 50-50. It probably does not even mean 60-40. Generally, the law applies to both parents, unless one of them has restricted visitation rights.

The Difference Between “Moving” and “Relocating”

If you thought these two words mean the same thing, you are wrong, at least in the context of Illinois family law.

Parents move when their residential changes do not trigger the law’s provisions regarding court permission. Parents relocate when these provisions would apply.

Distance Matters

Generally, if you are moving less than 25 miles away, you need court permission to do so. The relocating party has the burden of proof to show that the move is in the children’s best interests. Note that the move need not be an improvement. The move simply cannot make things worse.

Calculating this distance is sometimes an issue. There is usually a significant difference between driving distance and a point-to-point straight line distance. In 2016, lawmakers added an “internet mapping service” clause to clarify this part of the law. But since these services could determine either distance, the change was not very helpful, and there is still lots of grey area.

Location Matters

Economically, politically, demographically, and otherwise Chicagoland is so much different from the rest of Illinois that there are occasionally movements to separate the two areas into different states. These distinctions are embedded in Illinois family law, as well.

If you are relocating more than 25 miles from or within DuPage, Kane, Lake, Cook, McHenry, or Will Counties, or you are moving more than 25 miles and crossing a state line, you must have court permission. If you live anywhere else in Illinois and are moving intrastate, the limit is 50 miles.

Let’s Make a Deal

Generally, most judges prefer out-of-court settlements whenever possible. That is especially true in family law matters. Trails are often very harmful, especially over a detail like a relocation. Frequently, determining a new, mutually acceptable pick-up/drop-off location is critical to a settlement. This online tool could provide that information.

Count on a Diligent Attorney

Illinois’ relocation law contains many nuances. For a free consultation with an experienced Schaumburg child custody lawyer, contact SLG Family Law.



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