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Parental Relocations: Know Before You Go

 Posted on April 19, 2017 in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorneyWhen you share parental responsibilities with your ex-partner, the decisions you make about your life affect more than just you. They affect your children and, in some ways, even your ex. Depending on what has happened between you and the other parent, you may not be too concerned with what he or she thinks about how you live your life. If you are subject to a court-sanctioned parenting plan, however, there are some limitations regarding what you can and cannot do without the court’s approval.

One such consideration addresses where you choose to live and whether you have the right to move once a parenting plan is in place. According to the law in Illinois, a move beyond a certain distance from your current home requires the consent of the other parent or the court.

Defining a Relocation

Recent amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) introduced the term “relocation” as it applies to family law matters. The law defines a relocation as a move by either parent with his or her child that constitutes a significant change in circumstances for a parenting plan. Specifically, a relocation is a move by a parent and the child that is:

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

The Impact of a Relocation

The IMDMA specifies that a parent wishing to relocate must seek the other parent’s approval before actually moving. This is due to the impact that excessive distance can have on the other parent’s ability to maintain a healthy relationship with the child. In many cases, a divorced or separated couple develop a parenting time schedule based on their current obligations and geographic proximity to one another. For example, it may be reasonable for each parent to have time with the child each week if both parents reside in the same county or neighboring counties.

It is presumed that relocation would make consistent parenting time more difficult for the parent who is not moving. Therefore, he or she must consent to the move before it may occur. If he or she does allow the move to happen, the parents must amend their parenting plan to reflect their new reality. The other parent, however, may also refuse to give his or her consent. In that case, the parent looking to move could ask the court to override the other parent’s objections. To do so, he or she will need to show that the intended move would ultimately serve the child’s best interests.

Get the Help You Need

If you are considering a move with your child, it is important for you to understand your rights and responsibilities under the law. Contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney to discuss your case today. Call 630-352-2240 for a confidential consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C.


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