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Can you stop your ex-spouse from taking the kids out of state?

As a parent, you may have a difficult enough time as is saying goodbye to your children for the weekend, knowing full well that they will be safe and snug in their other parent's house across town. If an emergency occurs, you can be there in 10 minutes, 15 minutes tops, and if you cannot be there, your mom, dad, sister or other trusted friend can. That confidence goes out the window when your ex tells you he or she plans to take your kids out of Illinois for vacation.

You may have several reasons for wanting to stop your former spouse from taking your kids out of state. You may not feel comfortable being so far away from them for an extended period of time. Your child may have an allergy or health condition with which only his or her pediatrician is familiar or that requires weekly prescription refills. Or, you may simply not trust your former spouse. Whatever the reason, you may wonder if there is anything you can do to prevent the vacation from happening. Unfortunately, according to FindLaw, there is not much you can do.

If you and your ex-spouse have a joint custody agreement, it is unlikely the courts will side with you should you take the matter before a judge. This is especially true if your custody agreement is silent as to vacationing with your children. Additionally, while the courts may agree that a heads-up from the other parent would be nice, unless your agreement mandates it, advance notice is not necessary. 

That said, if you fear that your former spouse's motivation is to kidnap or cause injury to your children, seek court intervention as soon as possible. In these instances, the courts are likely to act much more urgently to investigate the matter and to put in place an emergency custody order. 

If you have fewer physical custodial rights than the other parent, you may actually have a better shot at stopping the vacation. If you can show the courts that the vacation interferes with your limited parenting time and that the interference would hurt your relationship with your children as well as their emotional well-being, a judge may put the kibosh on your ex's vacation plans.

The information in this article is for educational purposes only. You should not use it as legal advice. 

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