Moving On: Parent and Child Relocations

relocation, Aurora family law attorneyFollowing a divorce, the involved parties may feel the need to change things up in order to move on and close a rather painful chapter in their lives. The parent who has primary residential responsibilities regarding a child may want to move to another state to pursue new opportunities in employment or even a new relationship. These kinds of life changes can shake up even the most amicable co-parenting situation as a non-moving parent is faced with the possibility of not seeing his or her child regularly, or having to incur the costs of going to visit the child in the new home.

While the non-moving parent may get longer periods of visitation time, such as during school breaks and other long holidays, he or she stands to lose vital, frequent interaction with the child. The child’s connections to other family members and friends may also suffer, and he or she will have to change schools after the move.

The Best Interests of the Child

According to Illinois law, both parents must agree to allow one parent to move with their child beyond a certain radius from their existing home. If the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court may be called upon to make a ruling. In deciding whether to allow a parent to move with the child, the court must consider the best interests of the child. While a child’s regular time with the other parent may be beneficial to both the child and the parent, it may be in the child’s overall best interest for the move to be permitted.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act specifies a number of factors that the court must consider when deciding on a contested relocation, including:

  • The moving parent’s reasons for relocating and the other parent’s reasons for being against the move;
  • The child’s relationship with each parent;
  • How the move will affect the child emotionally, educationally or socially;
  • Presence or absence of extended family at the current and proposed location;
  • How often the non-moving parent will be able to visit;
  • How the move will affect the child’s relationship with the other parent; and
  • Whether the moving parent will facilitate and foster the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Ultimately, the court can either allow the move and permit the non-moving parent extra parenting time or refuse to approve the relocation. If the petitioning parent still wishes to move, he or she may do so, but he or she is not permitted to take the child. A modification to the parenting agreement may be needed to give the non-moving parent primary residential responsibilities in such a situation. The parent looking to move is essentially left with the choice of leaving and losing much of his or her parenting time or abandoning the move altogether and maintaining the current situation.

A Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you are a divorced parent and your former partner is looking to relocate with your child, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today. Call [[phone]] for an appointment at the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. and get the guidance you need in protecting your parental rights.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=0

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