Thinking About a Move With Your Child? Know the Law

When you are single or married without children, the decision to move to a new city or state is relatively straightforward, at least as far as the law in concerned. The personal aspects of moving may be difficult to deal with, but logistically, the only limits are your budget and your personal desires. The decision to move becomes much more complicated when you have primary parenting responsibilities of a child from a previous relationship, whether the relationship was a marriage, a long-term romance, or something else entirely. Your move will not only affect you but also the child and his or her relationship with the other parent.

Legal Considerations

There are, essentially, two types of residential moves. The first is a local move, which you, as a parent, can make with your child without needing approval from the other parent or the court. Finding a new apartment or house in the roughly the same area does not require you to jump through any legal hoops. The second, however, is more complex, and is known as a relocation. A relocation is a move far enough away to be considered a significant change in circumstances for the purposes of modifying a child custody or parenting plan. The other parent must consent to your relocation, or you may seek to have the court override his or her objections, based on your child’s best interests.

Geographic Limitations

Determining if a move will be considered a relocation is not subjective. Instead, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides mileage standards for a relocation. A move is considered a relocation when:

  • You move with your child from a home in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will Counties to a new home in Illinois more than 25 miles away;
  • You move with your child from a home in any other Illinois county to a new home in Illinois more than 50 miles away; or
  • You move with your child from a home anywhere in Illinois to a new home outside of Illinois more than 25 miles away.

If the other parent does not consent to the relocation and you still wish to proceed, you will need to convince the court that move is more beneficial to your child than staying where you are. You should be prepared to compare the quality of schools, employment opportunities, and the proximity of extended family. In addition, you will be expected to help the other parent maintain a healthy relationship with your child in spite of the distance. It will then be up to the court to decide whether to allow the relocation.

Let Us Help

To learn more about the law concerning moving with your child after divorce, contact an experienced Orland Park family law attorney. We would be happy to answer your questions and provide the guidance you need. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation today.