As a divorced or single parent, you understand how challenging it can be to provide all the things your child needs to thrive. In an ideal situation, your child’s other parent would also be committed to helping, both financially and as an active participant in the child’s life. But what happens when you want to pursue opportunities that would force you to relocate to a new city or state with your child? Do you have the right to simply pick up and move? As with most issues of family law and coparenting, the answer depends on the circumstances of your particular situation.
For many years, the laws in Illinois were fairly subjective about moving with your child. While there was no specific prohibition or distance limitations for an in-state move, if the move presented major obstacles to an existing custody or visitation order, it could potentially be challenged in court. An out-of-state move with a child subject to a custody or visitation order statutorily required the other parent’s consent or an overriding court order.
Beginning in 2016, expectations and restrictions on moving with a child are much clearer. As part of the update that transformed child custody consideration into the allocation of parental responsibilities, lawmakers have made the statute far easier to understand for all parties involved.
Move vs. Relocation
The biggest distinction made by the new law is the difference between a move and what is statutorily defined as a “relocation.” Moving simply refers to a change in a parent’s residence. If the parent has been granted at least half of the parenting time with the child, the move can be made within certain geographic limits without requiring additional action. By contrast, a relocation refers to specific type of move that is presumed by law to require a modification of the existing parenting agreement or custody order.
A relocation, according to the statute, is a move by parent with half or more of the parenting time with the child to a new residence that is:
- Within Illinois and more than 25 miles away from the child’s current home in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will Counties;
- Within Illinois and more than 50 miles away from the child’s current home in any other Illinois county; or
- Outside of Illinois and more than 25 miles away from the child’s current home in any Illinois county.
If you are considering a move that would constitute a relocation, you will need to obtain the other parent’s consent and modify your parenting plan. Without his or her consent, your only option would be to convince a court that such a move is in your child’s best interest. One of the major factors the court must consider, though, is your commitment to helping your child maintain a relationship with the other parent.
To learn more about the new relocation laws and how they may affect your ability to pursue future opportunities, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. We will help you find the answers you need and will work with you providing the best possible future for yourself and your children. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule your free initial consultation.