It is not uncommon for a person to move after they have finished with a divorce. While this can be a fresh start for many people, relocating can prove to be a challenge if you are a parent. When you are a parent and you get a divorce in Illinois, you are required to submit a parenting plan to the court before your divorce will be granted. In that parenting plan, the terms of your parenting arrangement, such as how parenting time is split between you and your ex-spouse, are clearly laid out. One of the things that is also included in the parenting plan is how parental relocations will be dealt with, which can become a complicated issue if one of you objects to the other’s planned relocation.
Notifying the Other Parent
Before you do anything, you should first determine whether or not your move is considered a relocation. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), you must follow certain requirements if you plan to move with your child more than 25 miles away from your current home if you currently reside within DuPage, Cook, Kane, McHenry, Will, or Lake counties, or if the new home is outside of Illinois. If you currently live anywhere else in Illinois, a move is only considered a relocation if you move more than 50 miles away from your current home.
If you are indeed relocating, you are required to provide the other parent with written notice that you plan to move with your child, and a copy of the notice should be filed with the clerk of the circuit court. If your child’s other parent does not object to the relocation and signs the notice, the court will typically approve the relocation, as long as it is in the child’s best interests. However, if your child’s other parent objects to the relocation, or if the two of you cannot agree on a revised parenting plan, you must file a petition with the court seeking permission to relocate with your child.
Your Fate Rests in the Court’s Hands
If you and your ex cannot agree on an updated parenting plan, or if your ex simply does not want you to relocate with the child, the court will hear your petition and make the final determination as to whether or not you can relocate with your child. As with all child-related issues, the court will examine a variety of factors before it makes its decision, which is based on what is determined to be in the child’s best interests. The court will examine factors such as:
Why you want to relocate with your child
Why your child’s other parent objects to the relocation
The quality of the relationship that your child has with both you and your ex
Whether or not your ex has exercised his or her parental rights and used his or her parenting time
The quality of the educational opportunities for your child at each location
Whether or not extended family is present at the current and proposed location
Whether or not the court could reasonably restructure the parenting plan to allot parenting responsibilities to both parents
What your child’s wishes are, taking into account your child’s age and ability to express independent opinions
An Orland Park, IL Family Law Attorney Can Help
Most of the time, a parent who is seeking to relocate with their child does so because they know that a relocation would help them give their child a better life. If your ex is objecting to your relocation with your child, you should contact a Will County parental relocation lawyer as soon as possible. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., we know that you only want what is in your child’s best interests. We can help you work with your ex to establish a new parenting plan, or we can stand by your side in court and fight for your right to relocate with your child. Call our office today at 815-727-6144 to schedule a free consultation.