Divorce Complicates Parenting, Including Moving Out-of-State with Your Child
The mobility of Americans is one the hallmarks and benefits of living in this country. Moving to a new place for a job, better schools or a different lifestyle are common reasons people give for uprooting their family to a new home and community. Moving with children always brings additional considerations because leaving friends and transitioning to a new school is difficult for many children.
If a parent decides to move following a divorce, this decision is even more complicated. Because of the importance of this relationship, divorced parents who share custody of a child are not free to independently decide to move away with a child. Consultation with the other parent, and at times a family Court judge are necessary to stay within the bounds of the law and the parenting plan. Taking a child to another jurisdiction without permission can lead to serious consequences, including criminal charges for kidnapping or visitation interference.
A mother from Russia faced this situation when she was arrested at O'Hare airport earlier last year for removing her child to Russia without authorization from her ex-husband or a Court. She was placed under house arrest, but recently obtained approval from an Illinois Court to leave the U.S. with her daughter.
Any parent who shares custody of a child should understand the rules on relocating with a child in order to ensure the rights of the parent and the best interests of the child are properly protected.
Triggering Provisions that Govern Parental Relocation
First, not every move requires permission. The provisions in Illinois law regarding parental relocation only apply if the move involves the child relocating:
- From a residence in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Will or Lake Counties to a new location within Illinois that is more than 25 miles away;
- From a residence in a county other than those listed above to a new location more than 50 miles away; or
- From a residence in Illinois to one in another state that more than 25 miles away.
Relocation by Agreement
If a parent subject to this law plans to move more than 25 miles away, notice must first be given to the other parent, with a copy also filed with the Court. The notice must be written and provided at least 60 days before the planned move, if at all possible. The contents of the notice must include the following information at a minimum:
- The date of the planned relocation;
- The new address; and
- How long the relocation will last, if the move is temporary, or a statement that the move's definiteness is presently unknown.
The other parent has the option of signing and accepting the child's new residence, or contesting the relocation. If the notice is signed and filed with the Court, then the move may proceed without additional Court intervention. However, if a parent objects, then the parent planning to move must file a petition with the Court to receive prior authorization.
Consequently, if a parent believes there may be challenges to relocation, then providing ample notice as well as filing a petition as soon as possible will give the parent the best chance of obtaining a resolution before the move date comes.
If a Court is asked to determine if a relocation should be permitted, then the Court will view the move from the perspective of what is in the best interests of the child. In doing so, the Court will look at the following factors:
- What prompted the move;
- The reasons for any objections;
- The type of relationship the child shares with each parent and whether a parent failed to exercise his or her parental responsibilities;
- The education available to the child at the present and proposed locations;
- The possibility of crafting a workable allocation of parental responsibilities under the new geographical arrangement;
- The wishes of the child, depending upon age and maturity; and
- The likelihood the parent/child relationship will be impaired by the relocation.
Consult a Family Law Attorney
Moves are sometimes necessary to improve opportunities, both for yourself and your child. If you need to move to better your life, talk to a passionate Palatine family law attorney about the legal requirements of such a relocation to prevent potential roadblocks. The Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C. understands how difficult these transitions can be and works with clients in Northwest Chicagoland to protect their interests and those of their children. Contact the office for a free consultation.