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Legal Recourse When a Parent Flees with a Child

Posted on in Relocation

Legal Recourse When a Parent Flees with a ChildA divorced parent living in the Chicago area may not relocate with his or her children more than 25 miles from their current home unless:

  • The other parent agrees to the move; or 
  • A court approves the move.

The relocating parent must file a petition to relocate and prove to the court that it is in the children’s best interest to move with him or her. The court can block the children’s move and modify the division of parenting time if the parent decides to relocate anyways. Fearing that a court will reject their relocation requests, some parents flee with their children to another state or country. State, federal, and international laws can help you rescue your children if your co-parent has abducted them.

Parental Kidnapping

Illinois defines parental kidnapping as when one parent defies a court-approved parenting order by hiding or removing the children from the other parent. You can request an emergency custody order for your children if you believe your co-parent has fled with them or is a risk to do so. Federal law allows your state’s courts to maintain jurisdiction over your parenting case, even when your co-parent flees to another state.

International Abduction

The legal process of getting your children back is more difficult if your co-parent takes the children to another country. The U.S. cannot legally enforce its court orders in another country. However, 98 countries have signed a treaty from the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, in which the countries agree to honor each other’s child custody orders. If your co-parent flees to a country that is not part of the treaty, you will need to use that country’s courts to settle your custody dispute. Unfortunately, several countries do not have a policy for dealing with child abduction cases and may side with your co-parent if he or she is a citizen of the country.

An Exception to the Law

Not all instances of fleeing with your children qualify as parental kidnapping. You can defend your decision to relocate without permission if your co-parent has threatened your safety. However, you should go to the police and file for an order of protection against your co-parent if he or she is threatening you.

Settling Relocation Disputes

Both parents must put the needs of their children first when deciding where their children should live. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you file for or contest a child relocation request. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K609.2

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