Having children out of wedlock is becoming more common; roughly a third of parents are unmarried when they have their first child. Like any relationship, unmarried parents may separate and move on and, oftentimes, especially when children are very young, a child may live with the mother while having informal visits with dad after a split. A question that comes up from time to time is, “What happens if the mother decides to move out of state with a child in the absence of a court ordered parenting plan?”
If you do not have a court ordered parenting plan, it is important to file immediately to get a parenting plan established, even a temporary order, so that your child’s mother has to provide written notice of a relocation providing you an opportunity to object. If that ship has sailed and your child has relocated already, it is important not to wait. All too often the parent left behind is in the dark, not realizing a move is permanent or perhaps hoping for a reconciliation. Waiting too to act can result in the other state gaining jurisdiction over the what is now an interstate child custody dispute, resulting in increased travel and other expenses for the parent seeking visitation (parenting time and responsibility).
Under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) adopted by nearly every state including Illinois, interstate child custody disputes fall under the jurisdiction of the home state. The home state is defined as the state where the child has lived with a parent for six consecutive months prior to the commencement of the proceeding (or since birth if under the age of six months). However, if a court has made the initial child custody determination consistent with the UCCJEA, that court has exclusive, continuing jurisdiction over the determination, including modifications to the order, until:
A. that court determines that neither the child, the child’s parents, nor any person acting as a parent has a significant connection with the State that made the original order and that substantial evidence is no longer available in the State concerning the child’s care, protection, training, and personal relationships, or
B. that the court or another state court determines that the child, his or her parents or any person acting as a parent do not reside in the state that made the initial child custody order
Questions About an Interstate Child Custody Dispute?
Contact an Experienced Illinois Family Law Attorney for Answers
To avoid problems from arising in the first place, if you and your partner are considering ending your relationship involving a child, it is important to work with an attorney to protect your legal rights immediately. If you are involved in an interstate custody dispute it is critical to act sooner than later. If you have questions regarding an interstate child custody concern, contact the law Offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates at 847-495-6000.