Child Custody Removal
Removal refers to the situation when a parent wants to change the children's residence to another state. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Illinois Divorce Act”), a parent, even those having sole custody or primary parenting time, do not have the unfettered right to move their children out of the State of Illinois without permission of the Court.
Illinois Removal Statutes
The Court must do what is in the best interest of the children, considering numerous factors as set out by the Statute.
The burden of proof is on the parent seeking to relocate the children to prove that such removal is in the best interest of the children. If the parents do not agree, the removal process can be a lengthy one very similar to establishing custody or allocation of parental responsibilities, with the Court having the ability to order the parents to attend mediation, to appoint a child attorney, and to order a custody evaluation, all prior to the removal hearing.
The Removal Process and What "Best Interest Factors" Illinois Courts Look To
Removal decisions are fact specific, with the Court’s determination seldom certain.
In 1988, the Illinois Supreme Court established the following criteria to determine if a removal meets the best interest test:
(i) whether the proposed removal is likely to enhance the lives of the custodial parent and children,
(ii) whether the motives of the custodial parent seeking removal are good,
(iii) for what reasons the non-custodial parent is resisting removal,
(iv) the impact of the removal on the existing visitation schedule, and
(v) whether a reasonable visitation schedule can be maintained if the removal is approved.
These factors have undergone some minor revisions but are still essentially what the Court looks at.
Why is it important to have legal counsel represent you in removal matters?
Winning or losing a removal petition can be life altering, not only for the custodial parent and children, but also for the non-custodial parent.
Job promotions, re-marrying and parenting time considerations are all at stake. Whichever side of the removal issue you find yourself on, Attorney Faye M. Lyon understands the law, and knows how to best present your case to the Court.
To schedule a consultation, call our office or send us a message