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DuPage County child custody attorneysIf you are a parent who is unmarried, divorced, or planning to end your marriage, you may have questions about child custody. Disputes about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can be complicated and contentious. One issue that commonly arises is a parent wishing to move or relocate. If you or your child’s other parent is planning to move, you should know the laws in Illinois regarding parental relocations and how this may influence your parental responsibilities and parenting time.  

Defining “Relocation”

Considerable changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) went into effect in 2016. Among these changes was a total overhaul of how the state deals with parental relocations. Formally called “child removal,” moving with a child when you share custody can dramatically change the co-parenting situation. If a parent with the majority of parenting time, formerly called the “custodial parent” or a parent with equal parenting time wishes to “relocate,” there are certain steps he or she is required to take. A parental move is considered a “relocation” if:

  • The parent currently lives in Cook County, Kane County, DuPage County, Lake County, Will County, or McHenry County and wishes to move to more than 25 miles away while remaining in Illinois.
  • The parent currently lives in another Illinois county and wishes to move more than 50 miles away while remaining in Illinois.
  • The parent wishes to move more than 25 miles away to a new residence outside of Illinois.

Relocation Requirements

If you are the parent with the majority of parenting time or equal parenting time and your move is considered a relocation, you will need to notify the other parent about the relocation at least 60 days in advance. You must tell the other parent the date you intend to move, your new address, and how long you plan to live in the new residence. If the other parent does not object to your relocation, you then make any necessary adjustments to your parenting plan and submit it to the court for approval.


DuPage County family law attorneysWhen it becomes evident that you are headed for divorce, it is important to start planning for the process. You will need to have a good understanding of your current financial situation and what constitutes your ideal post-divorce scenario. Depending upon the circumstances of your relationship with your spouse, you may be able to begin negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement. At first, of course, such discussions would need to be relatively informal, but you and your spouse can at least start talking about the future. The conversation is even more important if you have a child or children together, so that you can both better understand the role you are to play in your child’s upbringing.

Determine a Primary Residence

Among your first child-related concerns should be which parent will assume responsibility for a majority of the parenting time. This is an important consideration in determining where the child will attend school. The parent who does not have the majority of the parenting time will most likely be responsible for paying child support. Just because one of you has less parenting time than the other is not considered to be a reflection on your parental rights; rather it is more of a logistical determination.

Significant Decision-Making

You and your spouse will also need to discuss how you will make significant decisions regarding your child’s life. You may agree to cooperate and make each decision together, or you may determine that each of you should have separate but complementary responsibilities for decisions about your child’s education, medical care, or religious training. You and your spouse may have particular areas of strength or strong feelings about a specific area of your child’s life that make one of you better equipped to handle related decisions.


Naperville family law attorneysIf you are a parent who is considering divorce, you are probably worried about how the divorce will affect your children. While having divorced parents is not unusual these days, the transition from a one-house family to a two-house family can be rough on children. There is no perfect way to share custody of children as divorced parents. Some divorced parents choose to stay highly involved in each other’s lives and even take family vacations all together after the divorce. Other divorced parents choose to lead completely separate lives and only communicate when absolutely necessary. Your personal co-parenting strategy will depend on your unique circumstances and what you believe is best for your children.

Create a Detailed Parenting Agreement

Anyone getting divorced in Illinois who wishes to share parental responsibility with their child’s other parent must create a parenting agreement. Illinois law requires that certain items be included in this agreement. For example, parents must include a schedule for sharing parenting time (formerly called visitation) and parental responsibility (custody) as well as provisions for how the children will be transported between the households. Of course, there is no need to only include the minimum requirements in your parenting agreement. In fact, being more detailed and including agreements specific to your family is a great way to make sure you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse are on the same page. Including these agreements in writing helps ensure that they are followed by all parties after the divorce.

Vow Not to Put Children in the Middle

It can be incredibly stressful for children to have to play “messenger” for their parents. While it can be tempting to use your child as a means of checking up on the other parent, experts warn against this. Do not ask your children to relay messages to the other parent. Also, try not to speak negatively about the decisions your child’s other parent is making. This can make the child feel like he or she has to choose sides, which can be very upsetting. In extreme cases, talking negatively about your child’s other parent can be considered “parental alienation.” Parents who purposely tear down their child’s relationship with the other parent can have their own parental responsibilities limited by Illinois courts.

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