New Parental Relocation Guidelines for 2016
Following a divorce or separation, it is not uncommon for one or both former partners to move to a new city or town. Some may be seeking a fresh start or a change of pace, while others may be moving closer to family members and existing support systems. When the divorce or separation involves children, however, the situation can be much more complex, as any significant move is likely to impact custody and visitation arrangements. As you look toward a possible relocation, it is important to understand the steps you may need to take to remain in compliance with applicable laws.
Existing Provisions in the Law
Currently in Illinois, a custodial parent is statutorily permitted to move with his or her child anywhere within the state. While such a move may have a direct effect on an existing custody or visitation agreement, there is nothing in the law to prevent it. Conversely, moving with child to a new location outside of Illinois requires the consent of the other parent or the overriding approval of the court. In granting approval, the court must determine the move to be in good faith and in the overall best interest of the child.
While the process certainly seems to make sense for out-of-state relocations, the existing law falls short in addressing in-state moves. Considering that consent is needed for a relatively close move into Indiana or Wisconsin, it would be reasonable to assume that a several-hour move within the state would create similar concerns for the well-being of the child.
As part of the major family law reform bill passed earlier this summer, new parental relocation requirement are scheduled to take effect in January of 2016. The measure establishes a standard based primarily on distance rather than on state borders. According to the new guidelines, a parent looking to relocate with a child must obtain the consent of the other parent and/or the approval of the court for a move of:
- More than 25 miles from a current residence in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will Counties to a new residence within Illinois;
- More than 50 miles from a current residence outside of the six above-listed counties to a new residence within Illinois; or
- More than 25 miles from a current residence anywhere in Illinois to a new residence outside of the state.
Just as under the current law, in making a determination about the appropriateness of a move, the court must take into account all of the relevant factors. These generally include the reasons for the requested move, the expected impact on the child, the willingness of the moving parent to facilitate and foster the child’s relationship with the other parent, and many more.
If you are planning to move with your child in the near future, an experienced family law attorney in Geneva can help you understand the necessary legal considerations. Contact the Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates today and get the answers you need. We are ready to help you build the post-divorce life you deserve while ensuring the best interests of your child are fully protected.