How Far is Too Far to Move With Your Child?

When you share parenting responsibilities with your child’s other parent, some of your life choices may be somewhat limited. For example, an impromptu decision to take an extended vacation is no longer a reasonable possibility. Shared parenting arrangements can also impact your ability to find a new home or to seek opportunities outside of the area. Illinois law contains provisions that address such moves and sets limitations regarding how far a parent can move without taking action in advance.

Defining a Relocation

A parenting plan or child custody order in Illinois is subject to modification any time there is a significant change in the circumstances of the child or either parent. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act specifies that a move of a certain distance by a parent with the majority of the parenting time or equal parenting time is called a “relocation” and constitutes a significant change in circumstances. More specifically, a relocation is a move by a parent and child that is:

  • More than 25 miles from a current home in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, or Will County to a new home anywhere in Illinois;
  • More than 50 miles from a current home in any other Illinois county to a new home anywhere in Illinois; or
  • More than 25 miles from a current home anywhere in Illinois to a new home in another state.

In order to complete such a move, the parent seeking a relocation will need the consent of the other parent or the approval of the court.

The Starting Point Matters

It is important to note that different rules apply to a relocation request depending on where the parent and child currently live. The difference, however, is due primarily to the strain that a move can put on the relationship between the child and the non-moving parent. In the city of Chicago—as defined by the six counties mentioned in the law—25 miles can have a dramatic impact on a parent’s ability to spend regular time with his or her child. The issue is often less about distance than the complications presented by city commutes and traffic. Outside of the city, distance is often much less of a concern, as an additional 25 miles on the state’s highways is relatively easy to handle.

You should also keep in mind that the law only provides a starting point for relocation considerations, which means that each situation must be handled individually. For example, if you wish to move with your child from your home in Orland Park to a new home in Wheaton, the distance is approximately 30 miles depending on the route you would choose. By definition, this would be a relocation, but it would be up to the court to determine if such a move would truly necessitate a modification to your parenting plan.

Questions About Relocations?

If you are considering a move with your child, regardless of how far you are planning to go, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. We can help identify any potential obstacles and resolve them before they become bigger issues. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation at Kezy & Associates today.