How Are Disputes About Post-Divorce Relocation Handled in Illinois?

Posted on in Illinois Family Law

illinois child custody lawyerWhen parents get divorced, they may put child custody arrangements in place to ensure they can be closely involved in raising their children. Maintaining strong parent/child relationships in the years following a divorce can be crucial for a child's well-being. However, these relationships may be affected by a parent's decision to relocate to a new home. If a parent plans to move with their children to a different city or state, and this relocation would impact child custody or parenting time, the parent will usually need to request a post-divorce modification. By understanding the specific laws in Illinois that govern parental relocation, parents can determine their options for resolving disputes in these situations. 

When Are Parental Relocation Requests Necessary?

A move to a new home by a parent will only be considered a “relocation” in certain circumstances. A relocation request may be made by a parent who has been allocated the majority of the parenting time with the couple’s children, meaning that children live primarily in their home. These requests may also be appropriate in cases where children spend an equal amount of time with both parents. Parents will need to request approval for a relocation in the following circumstances:

  • A parent currently lives in one of the counties in the Chicago area (DuPage, Kane, Will, Cook, McHenry, or Lake), and they will be moving at least 25 miles away based on the driving distance determined using an internet mapping service.

  • A parent currently lives in one of the counties not mentioned above, and they will be moving at least 50 miles away.

  • A parent currently lives in Illinois, and they will be moving out of state to a new home that is at least 25 miles away.

Factors Considered in Parental Relocation Disputes

In some cases, parents may agree on how matters related to child custody will be handled after a parent relocates. To determine whether an agreement may be reached, a parent who plans to move will need to provide the other parent with proper notice. Generally, a written notice must be given to the other parent at least 60 days before the expected date of the move. If a parent makes plans to move in less than 60 days, they must provide notice at the earliest practical date. If the other parent has no problems with these plans, and the parents are able to agree on any required modifications to their parenting plan, they may submit the modified plan in court. A relocation request and child custody modification will usually be granted in these cases, as long as a family court judge believes that the modifications will provide for the children’s best interests.

Unfortunately, many cases involving parental relocation are not so simple. A parent may be worried about their ability to maintain contact with their children and spend time with them on a regular basis, and because of this, they may contest a relocation request. In these situations, a judge will consider the positions of both parties to determine whether to grant a relocation request, and they will make decisions about what types of child custody modifications may be made. Factors considered by a judge in these cases may include:

  • The reasons why a parent is requesting a relocation and why the other parent is objecting

  • The wishes of the child (while taking the child’s level of maturity into consideration)

  • The history of each parent’s relationship with the child (including whether a parent has failed to follow the parenting time schedule or be involved in parental responsibilities)

  • The educational opportunities available at each location

  • The proximity to extended family members at each location

  • Whether modifications to child custody may be made that will minimize the negative impact on a child’s relationship with both parents

Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Parental Relocation Attorneys

Whether you wish to relocate with your children or need to respond to a parental relocation request by your ex-spouse, Farooqi & Husain Law Office can help you address these issues correctly. To learn how we can help you protect your parental rights and your children’s best interests in matters involving parental relocation, contact our DuPage County child custody modification lawyers at 630-909-9114.


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