Today’s world is, in many ways, more connected than ever before. Thanks to the rise of digital and online technology, it has never been easier to look for new employment or educational opportunities that may exist far from your current home. For some people, it is also relatively easy to pick up and move to a new city or state in search of a better life, but this is not the case for everyone. If you are divorced, separated, or unmarried and you and your child’s other parent share parental responsibilities, moving to a new area can be rather complicated.
How Far Is Too Far?
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that any move that qualifies as a “relocation” must be approved by the court in advance. A relocation is any move by a parent with half or more of the parenting time with the child that exceeds a certain radius from the current home. If you currently live in Kane County—or Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, or Will County—an in-state move of more than 25 miles is a relocation. If you currently live in any other county, a relocation is any in-state move of over 50 miles. Finally, if you live anywhere in Illinois and move more than 25 miles to a new out-of-state home, the move is considered a relocation.
Why Is Approval Needed?
The law requires you to obtain the court’s permission for a relocation to ensure that the rights of your child’s other parent are not being unduly compromised. The other parent—in most cases—has the right to reasonable parenting time with your child and the new geographical distance can present major challenges. Obtaining the court’s approval can be relatively easy if the other parent does not object to your proposed relocation. If you are able to negotiate a new parenting time plan that allows for a continued relationship between the other parent and your child, the move will likely be allowed to proceed. If the other parent does not agree and you still wish to pursue the relocation, you will need to convince the court that move serves your child’s best interests.