Whether you have shared custody or sole custody of your child, one parent generally cannot make the decision alone to move out of the state of Illinois with the child.  Here are some factors to consider, if you are wanting to make a move.

1.  A petition should be filed with the court asking permission.

If the child has been living in Illinois, generally that is where the petition would be filed.  You would be asking the judge to grant you the right to remove your child from the state.  If the other parent objects, you would have the responsibility to prove your case as to why the change is right.  This could take time, because both sides need adequate time to prepare and present their arguments.  So it is not a decision that can be made at the last minute before you want to be settled somewhere else.

2.  The judge will base the decision on what is in the best interests of your child, taking many factors into account.

Regardless of how badly you may feel that you need a change, or another state is more desirable, if it is not overall in the best interest of your child, you may not be able to move out of the state.  The judge will look at the specifics of your situation and the proposed move, in light of factors such as:  whether the move will enhance the quality of life for you and your child, and in what way; whether your move is based on bad motives, rather than a positive plan; whether the objection to the move is based on bad motives; what the effect will be on the other parent’s visitation, and if it is possible for an appropriate visitation schedule.

3.  A solid plan for a good, enhanced quality of life will go a long way to justifying the move.

The judge will look at many aspects of the new life you are proposing in the new state.  You can show specifics about the community, school system, other family nearby and other support system, and the positive effect it will have on your life that your child will also benefit from.

4.  Problems can arise if paternity has not been established.

If the parents have not been married, and paternity has not been established, it is difficult for the father to prevent the move.  But that does not necessarily mean that the mother is free and clear to move with the child.  The father could take the steps to establish paternity if he knows you may be planning to move, and could then hold it up.  Also, if you move first, and then paternity is established, you may have to return to Illinois to present your case to the judge.

5.  A short vacation out-of-state is generally not so complicated.

In most situations, there does not need to be a complicated procedure just to take a reasonable vacation outside of Illinois.  Usually, with notification to the other parent as to where and when you will be going, along with contact information for the child, there isn’t a problem.