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Out of State Relocation and Child Custody

 Posted on November 02, 2017 in Child Custody

Lombard family law attorneysPeople do not stay in one place as often as they once did. With the global economy entirely interconnected and the job market in a seemingly constant state of flux, family moves are more common. However, so are divorces. In Illinois, the laws regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities—formerly called child custody—provide requirements that must be met before children can be moved a significant distance from their current home.

A Child’s “Home State”

For the purposes of parenting plans, a child must have a “home state.” This is the state in which a court would have jurisdiction to decide cases involving the child. Illinois is a child’s home state when (1) that child has lived in Illinois for six months (or since birth, if the child is not six months old yet), and (2) the child has no other home state, and/or the child (or their parent) has significant connections to the state. If a parent intends to move to another state and take their child with them, the child’s home state will change.

In Illinois, court approval must be obtained if a parent subject to a parenting plan wishes to move his or her family out of state—presuming that the move is greater than 25 miles from his or her current home in Illinois. However, the order is not given freely; proof must be submitted that the move is going to be in both the best interests of the parent and the child. The burden of proof is the parent who wants to move. There are a host of factors that the court will take into account when deciding whether or not to grant the petition. Some include:

  • The caliber of education in the new intended home;
  • The motive of the parent in proposing the move;
  • The motive of the other parent in opposing it (if applicable);
  • The parenting time schedule already established; and
  • Whether visits and regular contact can still be achieved after the move.

If You Choose to Fight

If you are the non-moiving parent, you may contest your ex-spouse’s relocation plans. Even if the other parent has sole decision-making authority over child, you still have the standing to oppose the move. However, even if you have equal decision-making authority, it does not give you the power to unilaterally block a move.

If you are unable to contest your spouse’s plans sufficiently, you must be offered reasonable parenting time that takes the new distance into account. What will likely happen if your child moves is that you will be offered longer blocks of parenting time, instead of short bursts. The participation of both parents in the child’s life is usually in his or her best interest. The child’s preferences also matter, but they are one factor among many.

Enlist Professional Help

Sometimes, a move can be the gateway to a new life, but sometimes, it can upend a settled routine, and not for the better. If you need help getting a court order in place to move, or if you need help contesting your ex’s plans to move, we may be able to help. Contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney to discuss your options. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation today.



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