Factors to Consider Regarding a Parental Relocation
In today’s world, it is not uncommon for a person to seek a fresh start by moving to a new city—sometimes even across the country. This may be particularly appealing after a divorce, as a new beginning may be cathartic in many ways. While the average American has the freedom to move wherever he or she wants at any time, such is not always the case for a divorced parent who shares parenting time of a child with a former spouse.
Rules for Relocating
The state of Illinois has established laws designed to help keep both parents active in the life of their child, even after a divorce. Regarding moving to a new city or state, Illinois law is clear. A parent with at least half of the parenting time of a child may only move with the child within a certain radius of his or her current home before the move is considered a “relocation.” A relocation requires the consent of the other parent or the approval of the court.
A move is considered a relocation if it takes the moving parent and child:
- More than 25 miles from a current home in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, McHenry County, or Will County to a new home in Illinois;
- More than 50 miles from a current home in any other Illinois county to a new home in Illinois; or
- More than 25 miles from a current home in any Illinois county to a new home outside of Illinois.
The rationale behind requiring approval for a relocation is that the added distance is likely to make shared parenting time more difficult. The varying distances take into account the ease of travel in other parts of the state compared to that in the city of Chicago.
Getting a Relocation Approved
When you are seeking to relocate, you must notify the other parent of your plan in writing with reasonable notice—at least 60 days in most cases. If the other parent agrees, you will need to amend your parenting plan to reflect your new situation and file your amended parenting plan with the court. If the other parent does not agree or you cannot reach an agreement on your modified parenting plan, your only option is to involve the court.
In deciding whether to grant approval for your relocation, the court must consider a number of factors including, but not limited to:
- Why you are looking to relocate;
- Why the other parent objects;
- The history and quality of the child’s relationship with each parent;
- Educational opportunities for the child at the current and proposed location;
- Whether there is extended family in either or both locations;
- The child’s wishes, taking into account the child’s age, maturity, and understanding of the situation;
- How the move will affect the child; and
- How the parenting plan can be amended to facilitate a continued relationship with the non-moving parent and your willingness to cooperate.
In the event that the court denies your request, you may still have the option to move anyway, but you would not be permitted to take your child with you. This would likely give the other parent the opportunity to seek additional parental responsibilities and parenting time.
Call Us for Help
If you are a divorced parent looking to relocate, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney for guidance. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.