The greater Chicago metropolitan area is full of options and opportunities for the people who call the region home. With relatively little effort, you could find a new career path or a new home very quickly, allowing you to substantially improve your circumstances. Such opportunities are particularly valuable following a major life change including a divorce. If you have children, however, and are bound by the terms of a parenting plan or a custody order, there are some steps you may need to take before you go anywhere.
Moving to New Home
If your parenting plan gives you the majority of the parenting time with your child, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure your child has the appropriate opportunities to spend time with his or her other parent. Children fare much better in the wake of a divorce when both parents remain an active part of the children’s lives, and you have a role to play in making that a reality. You cannot control whether the other parent actually exercises his or her rights regarding your child, but you must avoid making things more difficult than necessary.
Moving to a new home that is relatively close to your current home is unlikely to create major problems for your child’s other parent. He or she should still be able to enjoy his or her parenting time just as he or she did before you moved. When the move is a greater distance, however, the situation becomes more complex.
Defining a Relocation
Last year, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act was updated to include a new term regarding a parent’s change of residence. The amended law introduced the concept of a “relocation,” and specified that a relocation constitutes a significant change in circumstances that would require the modification of an existing parenting plan or custody order. A relocation refers to a move by a parent with a majority of the parenting time and his or her child that is:
- More than 25 miles to a new home anywhere in Illinois from a current residence in the immediate Chicago area, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties;
- More than 50 miles to a new home anywhere in Illinois from a current residence in any other county; or
- More than 25 miles to a new home outside of Illinois from a current residence anywhere in the state.
If you want to relocate, as defined by law, you must obtain the other parent’s permission and negotiate an amended parenting plan. In the event that the other parent refuses, you can petition the court to allow your relocation in spite of the other parent’s objections. You will need to prove that the move will ultimately serve your child’s best interests and that you are still willing to facilitate the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Contact a Lawyer
When you are considering a move—especially one that may be a relocation—it is important to discuss your plans with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. We will work with you to ensure that you are taking the proper steps and help you obtain the best outcome possible for you and your child.