Should You Stay or Should You Go?
It is easy to understand how such a situation could arise. You and your spouse divorced several years ago, and, while the process was not easy, you managed to reach a reasonable agreement that addressed not only your property and finances but arrangements for your children as well. Based on your circumstances and what was best for your children, you were granted primary residential responsibilities while the other parent was afforded ample visitation time. Things could always be a little better, but you realize that you have it pretty good overall. Your children are happy and healthy, and enjoy a strong relationship with both you and your former spouse.
Then, one day at work you are taken by surprise when your boss offers you a substantial promotion—but there is a catch. To take the new position, you will need to move away from Northern Illinois to your company’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas. On a professional level, there is no way you can turn down such an opportunity, but, as a parent subject to a parenting plan or child custody order, the decision is not so simple.
Negotiating With the Other Parent
According to Illinois law, if a parent in such a situation wants to move with their child to another state, that parent will need to get the other parent’s approval or the approval of the court to relocate. (Such approval is not needed if the move is less than 25 miles from the current home, even across state lines.) This means that to take the job in Dallas, you will need to discuss the matter in depth with your ex-spouse. Of course, his or her relationship with the children is likely to be greatly impacted by the move, and he or she has the right to express any concerns. If you can work out a mutually acceptable arrangement, you will be able to proceed with your move. If not, you may consider taking the issue to court.
Your Children’s Best Interests
If your ex-spouse will not agree to your intended move, your only option is to ask the court to override his or her objections. In doing so, you will need to convince the court that your move is in support of the best interests of your children. The court will take into account all relevant factors regarding the move, including resources and family members in each location, the expected impact of your increased earnings, educational opportunities for your children in both places, and your willingness to foster your children’s relationship with their other parent. The court will also consider the motives for your move and those that prompted your former spouse’s objections. A finding in your favor will allow you to move, but will require the modification of your existing parenting plan to match your new situation.
Looking at the Big Picture
When a good opportunity presents itself, you owe to yourself and your family to at least give the matter some thought. You should also discuss it with an experienced Geneva family law attorney. Contact The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates to schedule a confidential consultation today.