Parental Relocation Laws to Change Next Year

parental relocation, Illinois law, Aurora Family LawyerThe State of Illinois is geographically larger than many entire nations. Covering an area of nearly 58,000 square miles, Illinois is roughly the same size as the countries of Tunisia and Nepal, and about 15 percent bigger than Greece. As a state, Illinois ranks 25th in geographic area, placing it squarely in the middle of the pack. Despite its expanse, current laws regarding child custody make it completely legal for a custodial parent to move a child from one side of the state to the other without approval, while making a short move across state lines illegal. Beginning in 2016, however, this is set to change as a law signed last month will completely revamp relocation guidelines for parents subject to a custody order.

Current Requirements

Under the current law, a parent with primary residential or physical custody of a child is permitted to move anywhere within the state of Illinois without approval from the court or the other parent. While such a move could certainly create logistical difficulties and, most likely, strain the relationship between the parents, there is no statutory measure in place prevent it. This means a parent could move with the child from Evanston to Carbondale—about five and half hours and 350 miles away—without approval.

Moving out of state, however, requires the permission of the other parent or the approval of the court to override the other parent’s refusal. While this may seem logical for a move to California, for example, the letter of law specifies that any removal of a child from Illinois must be approved, even if the move was from Calumet City, Illinois, to Hammond, Indiana, about 4 miles away.

New Provisions to Start in January

Thanks to a new law passed by state lawmakers and signed by Governor Bruce Rauner last month, guidelines for parental relocation are changing next year. The new regulations seem to offer a more equitable approach to a potential move and more appropriately consider the geographic size of the state.

Under the new provisions, a parent may move with his or her child up to 25 miles away from their current residence without notifying the court or obtaining the consent of other parent. This includes moves across state lines; in such cases, Illinois courts will retain jurisdiction over the custody situation, despite the new residence’s location in a neighboring state. Additionally, a parent who currently lives outside of the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will, may move with the child up to 50 miles within Illinois before requiring approval.

The aim of the new law is allow non-custodial parents to remain in closer contact with their children, while eliminating somewhat conflicting facets of the current provisions. If you wish to move with your child in excess of the new guidelines, or if you would like to contest such a move by your child’s other parent, contact an experienced child custody attorney in Aurora today. At the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C., we have helped hundreds of families work through their legal concerns, and are fully prepared to advocate on your behalf. Schedule your free initial consultation by calling [[phone]].

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