When one parent wants to relocate with their child(ren) after a divorce, there are some strict requirements that may need to be met to do so lawfully in Illinois.
Whether it’s from a new job offer, to be closer to family, or just a change of pace, people decide to move all the time. When this is a recently divorced parent, however, they need to consider whether this is allowed under Illinois child custody and relocation laws.
If you just got divorced and want to move with your child, you need to read the following to see if you need to take the proper legal steps first.
When Do I Need Court Approval to Move with My Child?
Parents who have the majority of parenting time or at least half of the time with the children can seek permission to relocate with their children.
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs Illinois laws on relocating with a child. Under the IMDMA, a parent who wishes to relocate with a child needs to seek court approval if:
- The child’s primary residence is in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County and the parent wishes to move more than 25 miles away
- The child’s primary residence is in another county other than the ones listed above and the parent either wishes to move more than 50 miles away or, if state lines are crossed, and the move is more than 25 miles from the primary residence
Under the above situations, the parent wishing to move can provide written notice to the other parent. If the other parent agrees to the move and signs the notice, the relocating parent can move with the child without court approval.
How to Properly Obtain a Notice of Relocation
The parent who wishes to move has to provide the other parent with written notice at least 60 days prior to the planned move. If 60 days is not possible for unique circumstances, notice must be given as soon as possible.
The notice must include:
- The date of the intended move
- The address of the new residence, if known
- The length of time expected to be at the new residence if it is not a permanent move
Regardless of whether the other parent agrees to sign the notice or not, the requesting parent needs to file it with the clerk of court in the jurisdiction of the child custody case.
If the other parent does sign the notice, after filing, the relocating parent is free to move legally without needing court approval. The court will also modify the parenting plan to accommodate the relocation, as agreed by the parents, as long as it is in the child’s best interests.
What Happens If I Can’t Get a Signed Notice of Relocation from the Other Parent?
If the other parent refuses to sign the notice, objects to the move, or cannot come to an agreement on the modification to the parenting plan, a petition must be filed to seek permission from the court to move. Both parents will receive a hearing date where they will be able to present their case.
How Will the Court Decide If I Can Move or Not?
The biggest determining factor in the court’s decision to allow the move is what is in the best interest of the child. The court will consider the following factors:
- The circumstances and reasons for the intended move
- The reasons for the objection to the intended move
- The history and quality of the parental responsibilities of both parties
- The educational opportunities for the child at both locations
- The presence or absence of family at both locations
- The anticipated impact of the move on the child
- The court’s ability to set a reasonable allocation of parental responsibilities should the move occur
- The wishes of the child
- The possible impact on the parent-child relationship
- Any other factors deemed relevant by the child’s best interests
Both parents will have the opportunities to call witnesses, submit evidence to the court, and cross-examine the other parent’s witnesses to support their case. The judge will issue an order after the hearing either allowing or blocking the move.
Where Should I Begin?
If you have custody rights and would like to move with your child, or your child’s other parent is trying to move and take your child with them, contact the Law Office of David A. King, P.C. right away to discuss your options and rights. Call us today at (630) 504-7210 to schedule a consultation.