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Wheaton parental relocation attorneysIf you and your former spouse share children who are still under the age of 18, moving to a new location after the divorce can be a complicated issue. While a parent may have legitimate personal reasons for the move, it is also often necessary from a legal perspective to consider whether the move is in the children’s best interests, as well as how it may affect the children’s relationship with their other parent. If you believe that your ex’s relocation will be detrimental to your family, you may have options to contest it in court.

What is Considered a Parental Relocation in Illinois?

One thing to note is that a move to a new location within a short distance is not considered a relocation under Illinois law. While parenting plans will usually stipulate that a parent who moves will need to notify the other parent of the change in address, these moves are less likely to lead to legal complications, and there are fewer options to contest them.

However, some moves do qualify as a relocation, and they require approval through a defined legal process. All of the following meet the legal definition of a relocation in Illinois:

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DuPage County divorce attorney parental relocation

After a divorce, it can be challenging to co-parent between two different households, and the challenge is bound to increase the farther apart the two parents live. Nevertheless, you may find yourself in a situation in which you need to move for career or personal reasons and want your children to come with you. Illinois law allows for a parent’s relocation under certain circumstances, but if you are planning to move more than 25 or 50 miles away from your children’s other parent, depending on the county where you currently live, you will be required to present your case to the court for approval.

Preparing for Questions in Your Relocation Hearing

As the court considers your relocation request, they will ask you a variety of questions to determine whether the move is in your children’s best interests. These questions may include:

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Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County parental relocation attorneys, relocation with childrenThere are several reasons why an individual may want to move, whether locally or further away—a change in employment, family members who need care-taking, or cheaper costs of living. However, if you live in Illinois and are subject to a parenting plan, meaning that you are separated or divorced from the other parent, there are specific rules regarding when and where you can relocate.

Former Illinois Parental Relocation Law

In the past, the law required parents to obtain court approval to move with their children only if they were moving outside of Illinois. Indeed, parents could move with the child a few miles or across the state without getting the court’s approval. However, if a parent moved across state lines, even if it was just a few miles, they would need to get court approval. Like with most areas of family law, the court used the standard of the “best interests of the child” to decide whether to approve or disapprove the proposed move.

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce attorneys, divorce in IllinoisChanges have finally come to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5)—changes that The Illinois General Assembly passed last July and went into effect January 1, 2016. The new bill, SB 57, significantly modifies the areas of child custody and divorce.

Grounds Are No Longer Required for Divorce

Traditionally, Illinois was a “no-fault” state. However, divorces could also be granted on specific grounds. Under SB 57, a spouse seeking divorce no longer needs to state grounds for the divorce in his or her divorce petition.

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DuPage County family law attorneys, modifying a custody agreementAfter a couple has separated and decided upon parenting and custody agreements, it is possible that the custodial parent may want to move out of state. The parent seeking to move out of state will need to follow a process before relocating with his or her child or children. Illinois has set up a specific statute that lays out the process for a parent seeking to move out of state with a child.

Filing a Out of State Removal Petition

In Illinois, a parent seeing to temporarily or permanently move a child out of state must ask the court for permission before doing so. The court will consider the best interests of the child and make a decision about permitting the parent to move out of state with the child. 

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Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorneys, removal of a childChildren of divorce cannot freely travel between states like the children of married parents. Custodial parents who wish to move their child outside of the state, or even remove them temporarily, must get permission from the court first. In addition, the parent must demonstrate to the court that the removal is in the best interests of the child or provide some type of guarantee that the child will return.

Illinois Removal Law

Under 750 ILCS 5/609 of Illinois law, the court may allow any custodial party to remove their child or children from the state of Illinois if it is in the best interests of the child or children. In order to be granted approval, the party seeking removal must show that this is, in fact, in the best interests of the child or children. 

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Posted on in Divorce

child relocationAre you planning a trip with your child that would take you beyond state lines? If you are separated from your child’s parent, and you have a custody agreement, there are a few steps that you must take before you can depart.

First, you are obligated under Illinois family law to inform the other parent any time you travel out of the state with your child. You should share information about the length of the trip, where you will be staying, and how you can be contacted.

If the other parent is notified and agrees, you may take your child out-of-state for a short trip or vacation. However, if they do not agree, you would have to get permission from a judge, called an Order of Removal.

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Even once child custody is determined, for a divorced couple who both want the best for their children, sharing schedules and determining visitation can be a challenge. This becomes all the more difficult if the custodial parent decides that he or she is going to move out of state. In some cases, a move out of state could be beneficial for the children (if the non-custodial parent consistently fails to follow through or is a threat to the ex-spouse), but in most cases moving out of state presents a whole new set of challenges for a divorced couple. In Illinois, if the custodial parent wants to leave Illinois, he or she must first go through a specific court procedure to determine if the move is indeed in the best interest of the child. No custodial parent is allowed to leave Illinois permanently without going through this procedure. In order to make this possible, according to DivorceSource.com, the first step a custodial parent must take if he or she wants to leave Illinois is to “file a petition with the court requesting permission to remove the children from the state.” From there, the court will require “psychological examinations of the parties and the children (and possibly others)… and it is difficult to obtain a prompt hearing.” This means that the custodial parent will need to prepare for the move well in advance—it’s not a decision that can be made lightly and requires months of preparation. According to DivorceSource, “removal will only be approved if it is in the best interest of the children.” There are several factors that the court will consider, according to DivorceSource, which include but are not limited to:

  • that quality of life will improve for all parties involved
  • why the custodial parent wants to move
  • why the non-custodial parent doesn’t want the other to move
  • how drastically the move will effect the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights
  • whether a realistic visitation schedule can be reached

If the non-custodial parent has spent significant time with the children and has proven to be an active part of the children’s lives, obtaining approval for the move may be more difficult. If you or someone you know has custody questions such as this, don’t go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois family law attorney today.

Image courtesy of renjith Krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Taneil Curtis was visiting with one of her children on November 7th.  The visit was supervised by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services at a McDonald’s in South Holland.  During the visit, Curtis asked the case officer for permission to get a glass of water with her son.  That was when she made a daring escape while kidnapping her 21-month-old son. She darted out of the restaurant and into a waiting U-Haul rental truck.  After the police were alerted and the investigation began, they found the U-Haul truck abandoned near South Holland.  They determined that Kirk Alexander, the boyfriend of Curtis, rented the vehicle. After more than a month of trying to find Curtis, the authorities located her in Memphis, Tennessee.  Fortunately, her 21 month-old was also safely found.  This is not the first issue that Curtis had with custody of her children.  DCFS had taken her custody rights to her three older children due to substantial risk of physical harm. "This is a woman who's having all of her parental rights taken away on all of her other children, for God knows what reasons. She has active warrants out for her arrest. She tries to run over a case worker. The possibilities were limitless on how horrible this thing could have turned out," Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said of 32-year-old Taneil Curtis. When you plan to divorce, it is important to identify the reasons why a spouse may be unfit for custody.  If your spouse has partial custody of your children, it is important to keep them from relocating with your children.  Contact an experienced family law attorney in DuPage County who can be your advocate in custody issues.

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