top of page
  • aaronkorson


Updated: Jul 8

Are you a custodial parent considering an out-of-state move with your child? Moving out of state can significantly impact the child's relationship with the nonmoving parent, potentially disrupting their regular contact and overall well-being.

Understanding whether you can legally do so, especially if it involves seeking primary custody, is critical. The short answer: it’s possible but complex. Relocation depends on adherence to legal rulings and may require an agreement from the non-custodial parent or a court decree.

This article unpacks these legal constraints, offering an overview of what to anticipate from the court’s perspective and how to prepare when proposing a “can custodial parent move out of state” scenario.


  • Parental relocation laws require custodial parents to obtain permission from the noncustodial parent or the court, especially when relocating across state lines or beyond a specified distance, with judges considering various factors including the child’s well-being and maintaining the child's relationship with both parents.

  • Relocation impacts parenting time and the child’s life, necessitating adjustments to visitation schedules and maintaining the child’s education and social continuity; courts evaluate the benefits of the new environment against the child’s need for stability.

  • Custodial parents must carefully prepare and document legitimate reasons for relocation, anticipate and respond to objections, and focus on protecting the child’s welfare, with the assistance of a family law attorney to guide the legal process.


family with moving boxes

Digging into the subject, it’s essential to differentiate between legal and physical custody. Legal custody grants a parent the right to make critical decisions about their child’s life, while physical custody refers to whom the child primarily lives.

These forms of custody are pivotal in understanding parental relocation laws. Taking Illinois as an example, relocation is defined when a parent who has most or equal parenting time wishes to move from where the child predominantly resides beyond an established distance.

The regulations surrounding this issue aren’t straightforward. If there isn’t an existing custody order, parents typically have greater freedom to relocate. State mandates often require obtaining court approval for moves that take them across state borders or beyond a certain mileage from their current home base—a decision hinged on various criteria considered by judges during these proceedings—thus underlining the importance of fully grasping these subtleties and the potential impact on the child’s relationship with the nonmoving parent.

When it comes down to needing judicial consent for moving away with one’s child, especially if facing opposition from noncustodial parents—courts conduct hearings assessing whether such relocations should be allowed based on factors including but not limited to:

  • job prospects

  • commitment towards making long-term changes in living arrangements

  • overall impact on children’s well-being

  • continuation of a legal parent child relationship between kids and those parents staying put

It showcases just how critical it is for custodial parents seeking permission for relocating to come prepared—with solid justification behind uprooting themselves and potentially affecting family dynamics deeply ingrained within children.


Provisions in custody agreements or judicial orders may specify limitations on the ability of a custodial parent to move away with their child. These provisions are designed to ensure that any relocation is conducted within legal parameters and safeguards the welfare of the child, establishing boundaries for distance and circumstances under which a parent can relocate.

Parenting plans mutually agreed upon by both parents often encompass protocols for dealing with one parent’s decision to move in cases where joint custody has been established. Such protocols typically include notifying the other parent beforehand as well as revising existing visitation schedules accordingly.

Similar restrictions might be embedded into court-ordered divorce settlements or custody mandates when it’s not the custodial but rather noncustodial parent who intends to change residence.

The detail-oriented nature of these custody arrangements provides an essential framework enabling all parties involved—especially children—to adapt more easily during times when a parental relocation occurs.



In Illinois, child custody relocation laws are governed by Section 600.10 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. This statute outlines the process for a parent who wants to relocate with their child to a different state or more than 25 miles away within Illinois.

According to this law, the relocating parent must provide written notice of their intent to move at least 60 days before the planned relocation date. The notice must include specific information such as the new address, phone number, and the reason for the move.

After receiving this notice, the non-relocating parent has 30 days to file an objection with the court if they do not agree with the move. The court will then schedule a hearing to determine whether or not the relocation is in the best interest of the child. The court will consider various factors such as the reason for the move, the child's relationship with both parents, and how it will impact their well-being.

A copy of the relocation notice form is found below:

Download PDF • 367KB

If there is no objection from the non-relocating parent or if they fail to respond within 30 days, then it is assumed that they consent to the relocation. However, if they do object and prove that it would not be in their child's best interest to relocate, then the court may deny permission for the move.

In addition to following these specific statutes outlined in Section 600.10, it is also important for both parents to work together and communicate effectively in order to come up with a suitable parenting plan that takes into account any distance caused by relocation.

This can help minimize any negative impact on their child and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship despite geographical changes. Overall, these laws aim to prioritize what is best for children involved in custody disputes while also ensuring that parental rights are protected throughout this process.


The necessity of court approval is crucial in the context of a parent’s relocation with their child. When a custodial parent plans to move out-of-state, they must adhere to certain legal procedures that include sending written notice to the noncustodial parent. This notification should detail the new living arrangements and school information for the child, as well as propose modifications to existing custody agreements.

Should there be any opposition from the non-custodial parent regarding this move, it prompts judicial intervention where a hearing takes place to consider whether or not granting permission for such relocation is warranted.

At these hearings, custody parents bear responsibility for providing compelling evidence that supports their decision to relocate. They need to prove why relocating is both necessary and beneficial while also ensuring that it serves the best interests of their child. The courts will meticulously scrutinize factors such as:

  • Job opportunities provided by moving

  • Commitment towards making a permanent move

  • How moving affects children’s overall welfare

  • Preservation of strong ties between children and parents who aren’t relocating

In order to proceed with any contested relocation plans, they must be decisively assessed during these proceedings. If disputes persist about resettlement proposals after negotiations fail due process requires filing formal petitions seeking legal consent through what is known as obtaining an official “court order”.

Ensuring lawful compliance throughout protects all parties involved, especially prioritizing protecting minor’s optimal outcomes amidst familial changes, including the child's relationship with the nonmoving parent.


family moving

Changing one’s residence to a different state not only alters the living situation, but it also has considerable consequences on the time a child spends with their parents and affects various aspects of their life.

Such a move can create upheaval in the child’s routine and challenge their ability to preserve bonds with the parent they do not live with full-time, impacting the child's relationship with the nonmoving parent. The task at hand is similar to reorganizing pieces of a puzzle to form an entirely new image.

After relocating, there must be updates made to the shared parenting arrangement that clearly define periods for ongoing interaction, including phone calls or video conversations, ensuring that connections between both parents and the child remain intact. It’s comparable to maintaining links among puzzle pieces while altering how they fit together.

When considering relocation requests from custodial parents, several elements are evaluated such as familial ties beyond immediate family members and potential changes affecting personal growth or overall well-being of children involved. At its core lies assessing whether relocating prioritizes what is most beneficial for children rather than catering primarily to preferences or wants of adults moving away from them.

In reviewing these cases, courts carefully balance possible disruptions in familiar settings against anticipated advantages provided by new surroundings. Focusing particularly on preserving meaningful relationships between children involved within proposed arrangements across multiple parental figures.


A custody agreement involving parties in different states often establishes the parent who remains within the child’s primary environment as having joint physical custody. Simultaneously, it allows for both parents to share joint legal custody. This arrangement includes provisions for child support and delineates precise visitation rights for the non-resident parent, often requiring an updated visitation schedule when relocation occurs.

Due to geographical separation, these visitation periods might be longer but less frequent.

When crafting long-distance parenting plans, thorough attention must be given to logistical concerns regarding how the child will travel and which parent is responsible for covering transportation expenses necessary to uphold the visiting rights of the parent without physical custody. To facilitate regular communication and relationship building despite distance barriers, utilizing technological means such as virtual visits can help alongside ensuring that scheduling remains flexible enough to suit both the availability of that parent and the needs of their offspring.

Any changes made concerning visitation times need considerate alignment with various factors like school calendars and holidays so they align with breaks from school—thus minimizing impacts on educational pursuits—and respond appropriately to considerations related directly back toward age-appropriate social interactions aligned specifically around maintaining steadfast routines previously established within daily living scenarios amidst extended stayovers during intermissions academically driven or otherwise customary seasonal pauses typically observed within schooling frameworks.


daughter on phone

The complexity of parental relocation involves teamwork between both parents. It’s essential that co-parenting relationships are prioritized when a parent is considering moving away. This collaboration is key to arranging custody and supporting the child’s emotional and psychological health, working together much like players on a sports team to ensure the best outcome for their child.

Open dialogue with the other parent becomes critical if there are plans for one parent to move. The custodial parent must explore with their counterpart various ways they can remain an active participant in their child’s life post-relocation, which might include periods such as school holidays or extended summer visits.

Post-relocation, it’s crucial to maintain ongoing communication between the non-custodial parent and the child. This could be through regular phone calls or video conferencing sessions. If an interstate custody agreement put forward by parents appears reasonable and aligns with what would be best for the children involved, courts usually give it their approval—underscoring how vital mutual cooperation and strong communication channels are in making relocation transitions smooth for everyone concerned, especially in preserving the child's relationship with the nonmoving parent.


If a custodial parent wants to move out of state, getting the approval of the noncustodial parent can smooth the path forward by allowing both parties to work together on establishing a new custody arrangement and visitation plan that they both accept. This is akin to receiving an unobstructed go-ahead for what lies ahead.

On the other hand, if there’s no agreement from the non-custodial parent regarding this move, it becomes essential for the custodial parent to seek judicial authorization. They may have to request that the court modify their initial custody order to seek primary custody or adjust the visitation schedule.

In situations where there’s disagreement over such relocations, legal deliberations will take into account how moving affects not only parental ties with children but also touches upon issues concerning children’s welfare and examine whether the reasons behind these moves are legitimate. It underscores just how important it is to get consent from one’s co-parent or obtain permission through legal channels before making any relocation plans.


When a custodial parent needs to relocate, it becomes necessary to develop a new custody arrangement and update the visitation schedule to maintain the connection between the child and the noncustodial parent despite geographical changes. Both parents should work together in drafting an interstate custody agreement tailored to their unique family situation, essentially designing a revised strategy that benefits everyone involved.

If consensus cannot be reached by both parties independently on these arrangements, either can propose modifications for judicial consideration. In such court deliberations over child relocation cases, it is incumbent upon the custodial parent to justify how moving aligns with enhancing the best interests of the child.

Meanwhile, evidence may be required from the non-custodial parent illustrating how such change might adversely affect their offspring’s well-being. This underscores why carefully considering and structuring a fresh custody arrangement geared toward serving what’s optimal for children holds paramount importance.


Moving a child without legal consent can be extremely precarious for the custodial parent. It’s comparable to navigating a high wire with no safeguard in place. Should the custodial parent choose to move outside of predefined geographic limits without securing court authorization, they not only risk forfeiting their parental rights but also might face charges for contempt.

In certain jurisdictions, such as Tennessee, relocating a child without permission may constitute an act similar to abduction by the moving parent and could result in state-level felony charges while potentially leading to custody agreement modifications that benefit the non-relocating parent. Taking children across national borders against the other parents’ wishes particularly heightens these concerns when those countries are parties to international agreements like the Hague Convention, which introduces complex cross-border custody disputes.

As a consequence of unauthorized relocation attempts, stern penalties await any custodial parent who transgresses this boundary. These consequences can range from severe financial sanctions and potential jail time all through adjustments being made within either parenting plans or Allocation Judgments—all potentially tilting unfavorably towards them vis-a-vis custody arrangements.


Navigating the complex legal and procedural requirements of parental relocation can be akin to traversing a dense forest without a map. This is where a family law attorney comes in. They assist in navigating these requirements, including filing petitions, serving the other parent, and adhering to strict timeframes in family court.

The complexity of legal and financial implications in relocation cases makes it necessary for parties to seek legal representation. To strongly advocate for the relocation, evidence and witness testimony are important, requiring apt preparation by a family law attorney.

Securing a Chicago child custody attorney for a move-away dispute is necessary due to the intricacies of family law and to effectively represent a parent’s interest. Therefore, procuring expert assistance can be instrumental in guaranteeing a seamless and legally compliant relocation process.


moving boxes

In the context of a relocation case, meticulous planning and careful thought are essential just as with any substantial life change.

The court takes into account various factors to ascertain what would most advantageously serve the child’s best interests. These factors include emotional ties between the child and their parents, stability offered by the home environment, as well as consistency within their educational experience and community interactions.

Legislation requires an in-depth analysis of how relocating will affect the child, ensuring that benefits gained from such a move significantly outweigh potential negatives. At its core is prioritizing the welfare of the child above all else. This underlines why those considering submitting a request for relocation must engage in detailed organization and strategic preparation beforehand.


When making plans to move, it’s essential to record the motivation behind the decision. Legitimate grounds for relocation often encompass prospects for new jobs, entering into a new marriage, or health-related needs that demand a change in location.

To substantiate these reasons, one might present documentation such as employment proposals, closeness to relatives or improved academic options available for the child. Essentially, this process is about building a strong argument that supports the choice to move.


Preparing for potential objections and devising counterarguments is a crucial aspect of the preparatory phase. It is vital to present a compelling case to the court, illustrating that the move will enhance, rather than hinder, the child’s connection with the non-relocating parent and securing judicial approval for relocation.

Countermeasures to anticipated challenges about the custodial parent’s relocation should emphasize that not only will it preserve but potentially improve the child’s bond with their other parent. This stage resembles preparing for an intellectual confrontation. All points raised by either party need thorough examination and effective rebuttal.


boy sitting in front of boxes

At the heart of any decision involving parental relocation is the well-being of the child. When submitting a request to relocate, custodial parents must illustrate how such a move will positively impact their child by enhancing:

  • stability in their life

  • overall health and safety standards

  • ties with family members

  • alignment with what the child wants

This essentially translates into ensuring that both comfort and security are prioritized for the young one during an impending move.

During moves, it’s essential for parents to have strategies ready that promote not only emotional support but also foster developmental growth for their offspring. Professional guidance may be required in some cases.

The courts scrutinize whether a child has what it takes to adjust seamlessly to new surroundings, which stands as a vital aspect when reviewing petitions for relocation. Emphasizing this point underscores just how critical maintaining proper safeguards is for optimizing children’s welfare throughout these transitional periods.


We’ve navigated the complex labyrinth of parental relocation laws, co-parenting considerations, and the importance of protecting the child’s welfare during the process. It’s clear that parental relocation is not a decision to be taken lightly.

It involves tailoring custody agreements, navigating state-specific laws, securing court permissions, and maintaining open lines of communication. The child’s welfare stands at the center of this process, emphasizing the importance of maintaining stability, facilitating consistent communication, and ensuring the child’s education and social environment remain undisturbed. When considering such a significant move, seeking the expert assistance of a family law attorney is invaluable.


What factors do courts consider when evaluating relocation requests?

When evaluating requests for relocation, courts scrutinize various elements such as the strength of emotional ties, consistency of the home setting, uninterrupted continuation of education, and the preferences expressed by the child. The paramount consideration in these assessments is always focused on ensuring the child’s welfare.

What are the legal consequences of relocating without approval?

Moving without the authorization of the court may result in serious repercussions, including the forfeiture of rights as a parent, charges of contempt against the court, and possibly facing felony accusations for abducting one’s child.

Securing necessary clearance from legal authorities prior to moving is crucial in order to evade these potential judicial consequences.

How do custody agreements factor into parental relocation?

Provisions in custody agreements may restrict the ability of a parent to move with their child, delineating both the permissible distance and conditions for relocation to ensure it aligns with what is most beneficial for the child.

What role does a family law attorney play in parental relocation?

A family law attorney is instrumental in navigating the intricacies of legal and procedural requirements involved in parental relocation. They assist in constructing a compelling argument for court approval, ensuring you secure authorization to relocate without any complications.

How can co-parenting considerations impact a relocation request?

When considering a relocation request, co-parenting arrangements can significantly impact the decision. Maintaining effective communication and discussing alternative ways for the non-custodial parent to stay involved in the child’s life is crucial for a successful outcome.

The courts will favor a parental agreement for an out-of-state custody arrangement if it serves the best interest of the children.

9 views0 comments


bottom of page