In the years after a divorce, it may be necessary for one or both parents to move, and, in some cases, a person may plan to actually move to another state. This can bring about problems, since a move may affect subjects such as parental responsibilities (also known as child custody) and parenting time. Oftentimes, both parents want to continue to be involved in their children’s lives, but a move that puts significant distance between parents’ residences may affect the parents’ ability to do so. If you are a parent considering a move out of Illinois after your divorce, or if you are concerned about how your ex-spouse’s plans to relocate out-of-state will affect your relationship with your children, it is important to understand how Illinois laws will affect that subject.
Parental Relocation in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, a planned relocation by a parent must typically be approved by the court if it affects the custodial rights of one or both parents. In cases where a parent who plans to move has the majority of the parenting time with their children, or even when parents share equal parenting time, an out-of-state move will usually be considered a relocation. However, a parent may be able to move to a different state without seeking court approval if their new residence will be no more than 25 miles away from their current residence.
When a parent plans to relocate, legally they will first be required to notify the other parent, and they will also be encouraged to negotiate modifications to the existing parental responsibilities/child custody and/or parenting time arrangements. A written notification must be provided to the other parent at least 60 days before the expected moving date, unless plans to move are made within less than 60 days, in which case a notification should be sent as early as possible. The parents may then work together to determine how their existing parenting plan can be modified. If they are able to reach an agreement, the relocating parent needs to file the relocation notice with the court. A judge will review the agreed changes to parental responsibilities/child custody and parenting time/visitation, and, if they determine that these changes are in the children’s best interests, the relocation request will be approved, and a court order will be entered to modify the couple’s existing parenting plan.
However, if a relocation agreement cannot be reached between the 2 parents, then a petition for relocation must be filed with the court. A judge will then review the petition to determine whether to approve the relocation request, and also to make decisions about the modifications that need to be made to the couple’s existing parenting plan. When evaluating these topics, the judge will consider several factors, including:
The reasons a parent has given for the proposed move, which may include the pursuit of employment, or the desire to live closer to other family members;
The reasons the other parent is objecting to the move, including whether these objections are made in good faith, based on a desire to maintain a relationship with their children or to otherwise ensure that the children’s best interests are protected;
The potential effects of the move on the relationships between each parent and their children;
Whether it will be possible to maintain an existing parenting time/visitation schedule, or to instead put new arrangements in place that will allow the non-relocating parent to spend time with children on a regular, ongoing basis;
Whether the objecting parent has maintained consistent contact with their children, or whether instead they have failed to follow the parenting time schedule;
The opportunities and benefits that will be available to the children at both locations, including the availability of education and activities, and the presence of extended family members; and,
Any other factors that may affect the children’s best interests.
Ultimately, a judge will be looking to put solutions in place that will allow parents to be as involved in their children’s lives as they have been in the past, while also ensuring that the children will have the benefits they need as they grow up. While there are some instances where a relocation request will be denied by a court because it would not be in the children’s best interests, it is more likely that a judge will make adjustments to an existing parenting plan that will ensure that both parents will be able to spend sufficient time with their children, while at the same time providing for the children’s ongoing needs.
Contact Our Hillside Parental Relocation Attorney
Moving out of state after a divorce can be a complicated matter, due to the laws which address parental rights and responsibilities in Illinois. If you need to address issues related to a planned relocation, the highly-experienced Oak Park child custody lawyer at [[title]] can advise you of all your legal options, as well as help to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the relocation process. To schedule a free consultation, and to learn how we can assist with these issues, or any other child custody-related concerns, call our office today at [[phone]].