How Can Parental Relocation Affect Child Custody Cases in Illinois?

Parental Relocation IllinoisChild custody cases can be complex, and they will involve a variety of legal issues, financial concerns, and other factors. These issues will determine how parents will make decisions for their children, where children will live, and how parents will share the costs involved in providing for their children’s ongoing needs. If one parent wishes to relocate with their child to a new home in a different city or state, they will need to follow certain procedures, and modifications to child custody orders may be required. 

In Illinois, parental relocation laws have been established to address these situations. Courts will take steps to protect the best interests of the child while also considering the rights of both parents. If you are planning to move with your child, or if your ex has informed you of their plans to relocate, it is important to understand what procedures will be followed and how you can address requests to modify child custody. An experienced attorney can provide guidance on how to protect your parental rights and resolve any disputes that may arise regarding parental relocation.

When Is a Move Considered Parental Relocation?

A parent will generally be allowed to move short distances, and no approvals or modifications may be required if they will be living in a new home within the same general geographic area. However, moves beyond a certain distance are considered to be relocations that will require court approval. Under Illinois law, the following types of moves are considered to be parental relocation:

  • For parents who live in the collar counties surrounding Chicago (Kane, DuPage, Will, McHenry, Lake, Cook), moving to a home at least 25 miles away from their current home is a parental relocation.

  • For parents who live in any other Illinois counties, moving to a home at least 50 miles away from their current home is a parental relocation.

  • For parents who plan to move outside the state of Illinois, a move of at least 25 miles away from their current residence is a parental relocation.

Notification Requirements for Parental Relocation

If either parent intends to relocate with their minor children within Illinois or outside state lines, they must provide written notice at least 60 days prior to moving. This notification should include details about their new address and contact information, including the date that they will be living at the new home and the amount of time they will be staying there, if the move is temporary. If necessary, the non-relocating parent may file an objection with a court if they believe that the move is not in their children's best interest.

Determining Whether a Relocation Will Be Allowed

If there are no objections to a relocation, or if parents are able to agree on how their child custody agreement may be modified, the court will typically approve a relocation request. If there are objections or disagreements about modifications to child custody, the court will determine if a requested relocation will be allowed based on what is in the best interest of the child. The relocating parent has the burden of proving that the move will provide for their child’s best interests.

The court may consider several factors when making this determination:

  • The reason for relocation

  • Any reasons for objecting to the relocation

  • The child’s wishes, if they are old and mature enough to express their preferences

  • The impact of the relocation on parenting time with non-relocating parent

  • The history of each parent’s relationship with the child, including any instances in which the non-relocating parent did not exercise their parental responsibilities

  • How a relocation is likely to affect a child’s relationships with extended family members

  • The educational opportunities and resources that will be available to the child following the relocation

  • Any other factors or issues that may affect the best interests of the child

In general, courts will attempt to minimize potential disruptions to a child’s life while ensuring that they can maintain good relationships with both parents. A parenting plan may be modified as needed to address how parents will share decision-making responsibility for the child, when the child will spend parenting time with each parent, and how transportation arrangements will be handled following the relocation.

Contact Our St. Charles Parental Relocation Lawyers

If you need to address issues related to parental relocation, it is important to work with an experienced lawyer to make sure all legal concerns will be addressed correctly. At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, our Kane County child custody modification attorneys can help you understand how to proceed in these situations. We will work with you to protect your parental rights while making sure your child’s best interests will be provided for. To set up a consultation, contact our office today at 630-665-7300.

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