Moving to a new town or state can be hard for children under any circumstances, as they try to adjust to a new school, new friends, and a new routine. It can be even more difficult after a divorce, since children may be moving a significant distance away from one of their parents. If you are a single parent and your career or personal circumstances require relocation, you should be aware of the potential impact the move will have on your kids and do all that you can to make the situation easier for them.
Advice for Helping Your Children Cope
Relocations are usually easier for children if both parents make an effort to help them cope with the situation and maintain consistency as much as possible. Here are some things you can do:
- Modify Your Parenting Plan: In many cases, the parenting plan established during your divorce does not account for a relocation. If you are the custodial parent and you decide that relocation is necessary, you are required by Illinois law to notify the children’s other parent. If they agree to allow your relocation, you should work together to legally modify the parenting plan including any changes to parenting time and responsibilities. If they disagree, a court will have to rule on the relocation and updated parenting plan based on whether it is in the children’s best interests. In either case, having a clear parenting plan in writing that addresses the relocation can make it easier to uphold your children’s routine.
- Listen to Your Children’s Concerns: Your kids will likely have many questions about your upcoming move, including why it is happening, what their new home will be like, and whether they will continue to see their other parent. Be open to having these important conversations with your children, and do your best to acknowledge their feelings, answer their questions honestly, and help them understand.
- Plan for Their Next Stay with the Other Parent: When moving a long distance from a non-custodial parent, children may naturally fear that they will see the parent much less often. You can help alleviate this fear even before you move if both parents have conversations with the kids to plan for their next stay. You can also take advantage of technology to plan for frequent phone or video conversations when it is difficult to have regular time in person.
Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney Today
At Goostree Law Group, we have decades of experience guiding parents and families through divorce and the accompanying challenges, and we can help you plan for relocation in a way that protects the interests of you and your children. Call 630-584-4800 for a free consultation with a St. Charles family law attorney who can answer your questions.