Relocation and Parental Responsibilities
What happens when a parent in Illinois wants to relocate with his or her child after a divorce? After you go through a divorce and begin sharing parental responsibilities with your former spouse, it is important to remember that unexpected events may arise that necessitate a modification to your parenting plan or your allocation judgment. One of the reasons that you may seek to modify your parenting plan or allocation judgment is that you want to relocate with your child.
How difficult is relocation, and what do you need to know about how it is handled under Illinois law?
Defining Relocation Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act
How far away do you want to move with your child? Whether you have a majority of parenting time or share parenting time nearly equally with the other parent, do you even need to make any changes to your current parenting plan if you are moving to another house or apartment? The answers to these questions depend upon whether your planned move would actually be defined under the IMDMA as “relocation.”
Under the statute, relocation means one of the following:
- Change of residence from the child’s current primary residence that is more than 25 miles from the current primary residence if the current primary residence is located in one of the following counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will;
- Change of residence from the child’s current primary residence that is more than 50 miles from the current primary residence if the residence is not located in one of the counties listed above but is still in Illinois; or
- Change of residence from the child’s current primary residence that is more than 25 miles from the current primary residence and the new residence is outside the state of Illinois.
To be clear, if your situation does not fall into one of the categories above, you are not considered to be dealing with a “relocation.” Accordingly, you would not need to modify a parenting plan or allocation judgment. What happens if your situation is defined by one of the categories of relocation listed above?
Modifying a Parenting Plan or Allocation Judgment for Relocation
If you are in fact relocating, Illinois law considers the relocation to constitute a substantial change in circumstances that necessitates modification to your parenting plan or allocation judgment if you have been allocated either of the following:
- Majority of parenting time; or
- Equal parenting time.
If you need to modify your parenting plan or allocation judgment due to a planned relocation, the easiest way to move forward is to get the other parent’s permission. If you are intending a relocation, the IMDMA requires you to notify the other parent in writing with at least 60 days’ notice. That notice should include the following:
- Intended date of relocation;
- Address of intended new residence if known; and
- Length of time relocation will last (only if it is not intended to be permanent).
If the other parent signs the notice and agrees to the relocation, the court can easily modify the parenting plan or allocation judgment assuming that it is in the best interests of the child. However, if the other parent will not agree to the relocation, the parent seeking relocation must file a petition with the court. Then, the court must decide whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child by looking at a variety of different factors.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in DuPage County
If you need assistance with a relocation case, a skilled DuPage County child custody attorney can help. Our attorneys regularly serve members of the Muslim community in DuPage County and provide assistance with a wide variety of family law matters. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or call our office at 630-909-9114.