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Relocating With Your Child After Divorce

 Posted on November 09, 2017 in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorneyAfter a divorce, it is not unusual for the spouses to seek new beginnings. They may find new partners, look for new jobs, or move to a new town. Divorced parents, however, are not usually free to move their children with no strings attached. There are several circumstances in which a court may intervene - most importantly, if the parent with primary residential responsibilities wishes to move a significant distance or out of state.

The Rights to Parenting Time

The most common situations in which a child need to relocate are (1) when his or her parent remarries; and (2) when the parent or the parent’s new spouse receives a job offer in a different city or state. A parental move, however, can affect the parenting time rights of the other parents, which may be inequitable and unjust.

Under Illinois law, a parent has the right to parenting time with his or her child unless a court decides that spending time with that parent would pose a danger to the child’s “physical, mental, moral or emotional” health. The parent’s right will be upheld in all but the most extreme circumstances. It has been upheld even for parents who have been, for example, incarcerated or institutionalized in a mental health facility. Thus, the other parent’s rights must be taken into account when faced with a potential move that would drastically lessen his or her parenting time.

The Best Interests of the Child

If a parent seeks to move within the same general area—within a 25-mile radius from his or her current home in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County—he or she may do so freely and without the approval of the court or the other parent. The distanced is doubled to 50 miles if the current home is in any other Illinois county. A move of a greater distance require a court order if the other parent does not consent.

Illinois is a party to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which establishes a child’s “home state” for the purposes of custody. If your child’s home state is determined to be Illinois, then it is only Illinois that can hear any custody dispute, and in Illinois, it is the best interests of the child that ultimately determine whether the move should be allowed. The parent seeking the move has the burden of proving that it will be in the child’s best interests.

Some factors that a court will take into account in deciding whether or not to allow a relocation include:

  • The quality of life changes for both the parent and the child;
  • The ability of the non-moving parent to exercise parenting time;
  • The depth and quality of the relationships the child has in their current community;
  • Presence or absence of extended family in the current and proposed locations;
  • The non-moving parent’s motives for contesting the move; and
  • The ability and willingness of the moving parent to facilitate the other parent’s continued relationship with the child.

A Family Law Attorney Can Help

In order to achieve the best outcome for your family, it is best to ensure that your request to move is tailored as appropriately as possible and that you have the right help on your side. The skilled DuPage County family law attorneys at Pesce Law Group, P.C. are ready to assist you. Contact our office today to schedule a confidential consultation.


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