When an Illinois couple’s divorce is finalized, it will contain orders regarding custody if they have children. Both parties are required to comply with the order, which means neither party can simply make changes the custody arrangements on his or her own. For this reason, relocating with the children typically requires the approval of the court.

Do not make the mistake of thinking the court will automatically approve the relocation. The court will consider a number of factors before approving such a move even if the other parent agrees to it. The custodial parent will need to show the court that he or she notified the other parent as soon as the move became a viable option. The noncustodial parent has the right to weigh in on the move, and will be given a chance to express his or her concerns in court if the move is in dispute.

The “best interests of the child standard” still applies even though this is a modification. The court will consider the distance between the parents’ homes after the relocation, the age and maturity of the children, and whether the move will enhance the children’s quality of life. Generally, the court will want to know whether the move will put the custodial parent closer to extended family, will provide a better job and/or living arrangements, and will still provide regular visitation with the other parent.

The court will not approve a relocation done to spite the other parent or without good reason. An Illinois custodial parent who believes relocating with the children would be in his or her best interests will need to gather the appropriate evidence to present to the court and the other parent. If the other parent agrees to the move, then it would help to already have a new visitation plan outlined for the court’s approval. If the other parent does not agree, it would still help to have a proposed visitation plan for the court’s consideration.