Divorce and Minor Children: Illinois Statute for Requesting an Out of State Change of Address
The divorce has been finalized, marital assets distributed, continual support negotiated and custody and visitation terms reached. You have adjusted. You may find yourself at ease and looking forward to writing the next chapter. Perhaps you are even considering a change of scenery to turn over a new leaf.It may not be that easy. With your divorce decree terms already finalized, the court will determine if you and the kids can start packing.
For those residing in Illinois, Section 609(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), requires petitioning the court for any modification of the original terms of a custody agreement.
While you believe a fresh start will benefit you and the kids, your ex-spouse still retains his or her legal rights when it comes to a new zip code. As the petitioner, you should be aware that:
- The burden of pursuing relocation efforts falls solely on you as the petitioner;
- Your former spouse is to be notified as soon as possible;
- Time should be allocated to your former spouse to prepare possible objections.
Draft your answers to the following questions:
- Am I doing this for me or the kids too;
- Can the kids emotionally handle a move;
- Am I doing this for all the right reasons;
- How will I handle a long-distance visitation schedule;
- Am I committed to helping maintain the kids relationship with my ex?
If confident that you can address all of the above and are ready to present your argument in the Illinois courts, brace yourself. You may not immediately receive a green light by the judge.
The courts may not consider your petition to modify if your divorce has been finalized for less than two years. The process can also take time, anywhere from six months up to one year. The judge may also request expert opinions to be taken into consideration regarding the welfare of all minor children. Consideration is also given to the non-petitioning spouse as to if this move may adversely affect visitation schedules and the maintenance of a relationship with the children.
Wanting to make a fresh start following divorce is a positive and healthy motivator. Packing up the kids just may not be the answer. Even though it sounds like a positive approach to starting over, the Illinois court system will make the final determination.
If you are 100 percent committed to moving forward with your petition to modify your child custody arrangement and relocate, you will need an experienced family law attorney at your side. The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick serving Geneva, Illinois offers skilled legal representation in all aspects of parental relocation situations. Contact our offices today to schedule a discounted consultation today.