How Does Illinois Law Address Relocation by a Parent After Divorce?
It is common for people’s lives to change after they get divorced, and these changes may prompt a move to a new city or even another area of the country. In some cases, a person may be pursuing job opportunities or wish to relocate to live near their family members. While a person will no longer need to consult with their ex-spouse when making the decision to move, their relocation could potentially affect matters related to child custody. If the parent who is moving has primary custody of the couple’s children, this might mean that the other parent would be able to spend less time with their kids, and it may limit their ability to be involved in decisions about children’s upbringing. Because of this, one parent may object to a planned relocation by the other parent. It is important to understand how the laws in Illinois address these situations.
Parental Relocation in Illinois
According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a move by a parent who lives in DuPage County or other counties in the greater Chicago area is considered to be a relocation if their new home will be at least 25 miles away from their current home. If the couple’s children live with the parent who is planning for the majority of the time with the couple’s children, or if the parents have equal amounts of parenting time, the other parent must be provided with written notification at least 60 days prior to the date of the planned relocation. If this is not feasible, such as if a move is planned within 60 days, a parent must provide notification at the earliest practical date.
If there are no objections to the relocation, the non-moving parent can sign the notice, and the moving parent can submit this notice to the court, which will approve the relocation. If modifications to the parents’ parenting plan will be required, the court will usually approve these changes, as long as they are in the children’s best interests.
Things become more complicated if the other parent does not agree to the move or the proposed modification of the parenting plan. In these cases, the moving parent is required to file a petition with the court asking for permission for their relocation. The court will hold a hearing where the judge will review the relocation request and the other parent’s objections to the relocation. The judge will also consider factors such as how involved each parent has been in exercising their parental responsibilities, the children’s preferences, the educational opportunities available to the children at each location, the presence of extended family members at each location, and any other factors that affect the children’s best interests.
The judge may choose not to approve the relocation if they determine that it would not be in the child’s best interests. If the relocation is approved, the judge will look at how the parents’ parenting plan may be modified to ensure that both parents can continue to exercise parental responsibilities while minimizing any negative impact on the relationships between the parents and children.
Contact Our DuPage County Parental Relocation Attorneys
If you plan to relocate to a new home, or if you need to address a proposed move by your ex-spouse, the attorneys of Farooqi & Husain Law Office can help you understand the best ways to protect your parental rights and address your children’s best interests. Contact our Oakbrook Terrace child custody lawyers at 630-909-9114 to learn how we can help with your case.