Sometimes moving is necessary when a divorced parent (or their new spouse) secures employment or for other reasons such as being closer to extended family to provide or get support. In situations of shared parenting, it is, of course, always better for divorced parents to stay within a reasonable driving distance to the children, but that is not always possible. A move can be stressful for kids who will not only have to contend with an absent parent for long stretches of time, but who may have to shuttle between two distant locations to make it work.
The courts understand the negative impact imposed on children when one parent lives too far from a child for regular contact. Many states prohibit the custodial parent (assigned bulk of parenting time) from moving out of state or beyond a certain distance of a non-custodial parent without that parent’s blessing or the permission of the court. In Illinois, child relocation occurs when:
You move more than 25 miles from the child’s original home if it is in Cook, DuPage, McHenry, Kane, Lake, or Will Counties or the new home is out of state
You move your family more than 50 miles away from the original home within Illinois if it is not in Cook County, DuPage, McHenry, Kane, Lake, or Will Counties.
If you plan to relocate with your child, you must file a Notice of Relocation, providing the other parent with a copy at least 60 days before your planned relocation (750 ILCS 5/609.2). If your ex-spouse is agreeable to the move, he or she will sign the notice, which you can then file with the court. Established parenting time and responsibilities will be changed as necessary to allow the move.
If the other parent refuses to sign off on the move, a relocating parent may wish to petition the court for permission to relocate. The court will decide whether a move is in the best interest of the child by considering the quality of each parent’s relationship with the child, what your reasons are for relocating, the schools the child will attend, extended family in both locations, impact on the child, the child’s wishes and any other relevant issues. Arrangements regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities will also be weighed to determine if a move serves the child’s best interests before granting the request.
Life goes on after divorce and sometimes parents have to change locations for a job, family, a new relationship or other. Although it is not an ideal situation for kids, it is not impossible to make it work. Parents that relocate without children can make arrangements to visit their children at regular intervals in their town to cut down on the children’s travel and to share in their day to day routines. Parents can also alternate school holidays so that the kids can develop a sense of belonging in both locations over time, keeping their relationship with both parents intact.
When Relocating With Children Following Divorce
Contact an Experienced Illinois Divorce Modification Attorney
If you are considering a move or your ex has notified you that they want to relocate your children, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced post-decree modification attorney. Contact the Libertyville Family Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates PC for assistance today at 847-495-6000.