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Geneva child relocation lawyerThere is no question that after a divorce, the lives of the spouses and their children will change significantly. Additional changes may occur in the years to come, and there may be a time when one parent decides to move to a new location that is a significant distance away from the other parent. However, there are restrictions on how a custodial parent may proceed in cases involving parental relocation, and the well-being of a child and the rights of the other parent must be protected. 

Illinois Parental Relocation Laws

While Illinois law no longer uses the term “custody,” the parent with the majority of the parenting time is often referred to as the custodial parent. If this parent decides to move to a new home, may need to seek the approval of the court, and the other parent may argue against the move if it affects their parenting time with a child. 

A parent living in Kane County can only move up to 25 miles from the current living situation without approval from the court. The same goes for Cook, Lake, Dupage, Will, and McHenry Counties. For all other counties in Illinois, a parent may move up to 50 miles away within the state. Interstate moves require approval if they are more than 25 miles from the current home. 

Kane County family law attorneyIn just a few short weeks, your children will be out of school for the summer. They are probably already looking forward to the freedom to sleep in and to spend time recreating with their friends. As a parent, you may also be excited for summer, but it is also common for parents to approach the extended break from school with at least some concerns. Such worries are often amplified for parents who share parental responsibilities with an ex-spouse. If you are subject to an Illinois parenting plan or custody agreement, it is important to prepare well in advance for the months ahead.

Review Your Existing Arrangements

Before planning any trips or summertime events, it is important to know what your parenting plan says about the summer break. Many parenting plans give the bulk of summer parenting time to the parent who sees the children less often during the school year—particularly if that parent lives relatively far away. Other plans keep a schedule similar to that which is in place during the school year. If your plan makes definitive arrangements regarding summer parenting time, you need to follow them or come up with a compromise so that both you and the other parent can enjoy the summer as well.

Geneva family law attorneyIf you are a parent considering divorce, your number one concern is probably about how the divorce will affect your children. Fortunately, there are many good resources for parents planning to divorce. One thing parents should do if they are planning to share custody of their children after the split is create a parenting plan or parenting agreement.

Every Plan is Different

If you are a parent getting divorced in Illinois, the courts will require you to draft and submit a parenting plan. In it, you should define the proposed custody and visitation schedule (technically called allocation of parental rights and parenting time respectively) as well as solidify other parenting decisions. Only the custody and visitation schedule is required, but many experts suggest parents use a court-required parenting agreement as an opportunity to get on the same page regarding the children. Each family is different, so your parenting plan will not look exactly the same as another family’s plan.

Kane County family law attorneysWhen the other parent in an allocation of parental responsibilities case is given the majority of the parenting time, it can feel like you will only rarely see your child. However, there are many things you can do to increase your time that you and your children get to spend together. Even if the court has decided it is not in the child’s best interest for you to be the primary caretaker, that does not mean you cannot play a vital role your child’s life.

Right of First Refusal

Under Illinois law, when the child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent can ask the court for the “right of first refusal” when childcare is needed. This means that before the child is put in daycare or a sitter is called, the other parent should be given the chance to be with their child instead.

Geneva family law attorneyWhen you and your child’s other parent are forced to come up with arrangements regarding for parenting time—previously known as visitation under Illinois law—it can be regrettably easy to get caught up in your own wants and needs. Some, of course, are entirely reasonable, such as building parenting time schedules around your career obligations, but many parents often forget to take their child’s wishes into account.

What the Law Says

While parents are free to develop a parenting plan—including arrangements for parenting time—on their own, such a plan must be reasonable and serve the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, arrangements may be made by the court. In doing so, the court is required by law to take a number of factors into account, including the wishes of the child in question. The child’s wishes are not necessarily binding but should factor into the court’s ultimate decision.

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