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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.

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Naperville child support attorneysIf you are going through a divorce, the court will usually factor health care costs into the child support order they issue. This could significantly alter the amount of regular child support payments depending on what your and your spouse’s insurance offers. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) outlines exactly how a court will calculate a child support order, so it is important to learn more about how this legislation could affect your divorce order by discussing your case with a divorce attorney. 

Child Support and Providing for Health Care Costs in Illinois

Basic child support requirements already should include ordinary out-of-pocket medical expenses. Also, the court may decide to require one or both spouses to ensure that their health insurance coverage covers their child, that they purchase health/dental/or vision policies to cover their child, or that they use alternative solutions to cover their child’s present and future medical needs. While child support orders typically require one spouse to make regular payments to help the other spouse provide for their child, the court may also encourage one or both spouses to pitch in to meet any medical expenses that are not covered by insurance, like office or pharmacy copays.

In some cases, the divorcing spouses may not have the financial resources and opportunities to provide private health care coverage for their child. If this is the case, a court may require that one or both parents purchase insurance coverage as soon as the cost is reasonable given the spouses’ circumstances, or the court can order the ex-spouses to file for public health care coverage for their child and split any remaining costs. 

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Naperville paternity attorneyUnder Illinois law, the legal relationship between a child and his or her father is only presumed if the man was married to child’s mother at the time of, just prior to, or just after the child’s birth. According to the most recent available statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, more than 40 percent of all births in the United States are to unmarried mothers. These numbers indicate that, on average, paternity cannot be presumed in about two out of five cases.

The most common method for establishing paternity when there is no existing presumption—or to rebut a presumption in certain cases—is by means of a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity (VAP) form. When both the mother and father complete the form properly, it creates a legal parent-child relationship between the man and his son or daughter. As such, completing the VAP form is an extremely serious matter, and one that should not be taken lightly.

Be Absolutely Certain

Prior to acknowledging paternity voluntarily, it is important that there is no doubt in your mind that you are the child’s father. Once the form has been completed and the time period for rescinding the acknowledgment has passed, you are the child’s father in the eyes of the law. If, down the road, you become aware that you might not be the child’s biological father, it may be too late.

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