Even in the midst of a divorce, when big changes are already in motion in a household, other circumstances can arise that create an even greater divide between a parent and a child. Sometimes new developments at work or with extended family surface, placing a parent in a position where he or she must decide whether or not to relocate in the wake of a divorce. In other situations, one parent simply wishes to retaliate or distance him or herself–and the child the couple shares–from the other, with hopes of starting over after the separation. Whatever the reason for a potential relocation, there are certain laws in place to govern each parent’s rights when it comes to moving after a divorce. Parents cannot simply take off and uproot their child in the process without proper court authorization and approval from the other parent. These restrictions exist for a number of reasons, one of the most important being the protection of the child’s best interests. 

The Impact of Relocating After Divorce

If you or your ex-spouse must move due to a job transfer or other circumstances, it is important to weigh some of the potential consequences of relocating after your divorce, such as the following:

  • Moving can contribute to parental alienation. Parental alienation is the term for when one parent tries to turn a child against the other parent, typically with negative comments and at times outright lies about the other parent. It is the worst-case scenario for a child of divorce; not only are the parents at odds, one or both parents put the other down and try to get the child to take sides, effectively putting the child in the middle of the conflict. Even if you do not feel you are particularly bitter when it comes to your former spouse, moving away and keeping your child from him or her can be a form of parental alienation, especially if you have unresolved, lingering, negative emotions that you have not yet addressed.
  • A child may experience long-term, negative psychological effects. Parental alienation is one example of the negative psychological effects that can occur when one parent moves after a divorce. In general, studies show that children typically do best when both parents remain local or at the very most within one hour away from each other. Research indicates that relocation can cause all kinds of long-term emotional damage, especially when tensions are high between parents. For example, studies have found that a number of children involved in long-distance relationships with their parents felt more distressed, experienced more hostility in their relationships, and received less financial support from the distant parent.
  • Relocation can have serious legal consequences. Along with the risk of psychological effects on your children, moving after a divorce can mean serious legal consequences for you, the parent, if the process is not handled properly. To ensure your moving plans are legal and that you are acting within your rights, it is important to have qualified legal representation by your side.

Contact a Naperville Parental Relocation Attorney

Some people choose to move after their marriage ends as a way to start over. If you or your ex-spouse are contemplating moving after your divorce, it is imperative that you understand the legal aspects of relocating with your child. Mevorah Law Offices LLC has successfully handled many types of divorce cases involving relocation. Speak with one of our dedicated Lombard, IL divorce lawyers to ensure your parental rights are protected post-divorce. Call our office today at 630-932-9100 to schedule your free consultation.