Many recently divorced parents find it helpful to leave the area where they resided during the marriage to seek a new beginning elsewhere. Relocating can have a wonderful effect on the mental health of a newly divorced parent, particularly if the divorce was very challenging or the marriage itself was harmful. However, in Illinois, a parent cannot simply pack their children’s belongings and relocate to a faraway area without first obtaining permission from the court. Parental relocations are not automatically granted if the other parent objects. If your former spouse resists the relocation and has been allocated any parenting time, the court is likely to conduct a thorough analysis before reaching a decision. As is true for all family law cases pertaining to children, this issue must be decided in favor of what is in the child’s best interests. It is important to consult an attorney before requesting permission to relocate with children.
Determining Whether a Relocation is in the Child’s Best Interests
Courts will grant a parent’s request to relocate with the children over the objection of the other parent only if it is established that moving away is in the best interests of the children involved. In determining whether the relocation would be best for the children, the court will consider a number of factors similar to those used in determining an initial parenting plan. Factors considered may include:
Child’s adjustment – How well-adjusted a child is to their current home, school, and community is highly relevant. Courts may be reluctant to remove a child from a neighborhood they are well-acclimated to and involved in.
Child’s wishes – Whether a child wishes to relocate with the moving parent is an important consideration. Depending on the child’s age and level of maturity, the child’s expressed wishes may carry more or less weight.
Practicability of visitation – The court will consider the degree to which the proposed relocation is likely to affect the current visitation schedule deleteriously. Factors such as the expense and practicality of transporting the children back and forth, the willingness of both parents to cooperate in maintaining their child’s relationship with the other parent, and all parties’ normal daily schedules may be discussed.
Mental and physical health of all parties – The court will want to ensure that the child’s health can be adequately cared for despite the relocation, as well as how each parent’s mental and physical health may affect the child if the relocation goes ahead.
There are many other factors that Illinois courts find relevant when deciding whether to allow a parent to relocate with children despite the other parent’s objections.
Contact a Cook County Parental Relocation Lawyer
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