How Far Can I Move With My Child?
In past generations, it was not terribly uncommon for a person to grow up in a given area and to spend the vast majority of his or her life in that same area. This was especially true in financially healthy regions where jobs and educational opportunities were readily available. Today, however, is a different story, as a people are much more likely to move greater distances than ever before. Some move for employment reasons, others for education, and still others just for a change in scenery. While moving is rarely easy, most adults have the freedom to relocate whenever they choose, but for those who are subject to an Illinois parenting plan, there are limits on how far a move can be.
Who Is Affected?
The state of Illinois is invested in looking out for the best interests of children—especially those whose parents have divorced or were never married. Thus, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides specific guidance for parents who wish to move to a new home. The IMDMA states that a parent who has the majority of the parenting time with their child or shares parenting time equally with the other parent must adhere to certain rules when considering a move.
The law allows such a parent who lives in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County to move anywhere he or she chooses within a 25-mile radius from his or her current home, even if the move would take the parent into a different state. If the parent’s current home is in any other Illinois county, a move of up to 50 miles within Illinois is allowed. The limit is still 25 miles if the move is to another state.
Any move beyond these limits is considered to be a “relocation.” The IMDMA specifies that a relocation is a significant change in circumstances for the purposes of the parents’ parenting plan. The law also provides that a relocation requires the approval of the court and the notification of the other parent.
Approval and Consent
When you wish to relocate with your child, as defined in the IMDMA, you will need to let your child’s other parent know about your intention to move. If the other parent agrees to the move, the court will usually approve the request as well. Your parenting plan will need to be updated to reflect your new living arrangements. If the other parent objects to the move, you may continue to pursue the matter, but it will up to the court to decide.
In order to overcome the other parent’s objections, you will need to show that you are acting in good faith—that is, you are not just moving to keep the other parent from seeing your child. You must also show that the relocation is in your child’s overall best interests due to available opportunities, the presence of extended family, and other considerations. Finally, you need to show that you are willing and able to facilitate your child’s ongoing relationship with the other parent.
We Can Help
If you are thinking about moving to a new city or state with your child, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can help you with the legal details. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation with a member of the team at The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today.