It can be very difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with your child when your parenting time is limited by the circumstances of a divorce or breakup with your child’s other parent. Things can become even more difficult if the other parent decides that he or she wants to move out of the areawith your child. If you have a formal parenting plan in place, you have the right to contest such a move and an experienced attorney can help you do so.
Defining a Relocation
While your allocated parenting time gives you certain rights regarding your child, you do not have the right to control where the other parent can and cannot move. However, your right to a healthy, ongoing relationship with your child is protected by provisions in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. If your child’s other parent wants to move to a new home, he or she may move you’re your child within a certain radius of the current home without seeking permission from you or the court. The move, by law, is considered a relocation—which requires your consent or the approval of the court—if it is a move of:
- More than 25 miles to a new home within the state from a current home in Cook, Kane, DuPage, Will, McHenry, or Lake County;
- More than 50 miles to a new home within the state from a current home in any other Illinois county; or
- More than 25 miles to a new home outside of Illinois from a current home in any Illinois county.
When the other parent is considering a relocation, he or she must notify you of the intent to move. The law presumes that the notification will include a proposal for amending your parenting plan so that you can continue your relationship with your child despite the new distance. This could mean longer periods of parenting time in the summer, for example, or over holiday breaks. You are under no obligation to consent to the move, though you should try to be objective about your child’s best interests.
If the other parent decides to press the matter and bring it before the court, your motives for contesting the relocation will be called into question, as will the other parent’s motives for moving. The court will not look favorably on either party attempting to intentionally make things difficult for the other. These considerations, along with economic and educational opportunities, the presence or absence of extended family in each location, and the willingness of the moving parent to facilitate your relationship with your child will ultimately determine the court’s decision. If the move is approved, your parenting plan must be amended to reflect the new reality.
Get the Help You Need
When your child’s other parent is looking to leave the area with your child, you need assistance in protecting your rights. To get the guidance you deserve, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney today. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation with Kezy & Associates.