Relocation: New Rules When a Custodial Parent Wants to Move

The Illinois legislature’s recent overhaul of the state’s child custody and divorce laws are far-reaching: even the state’s removal laws – what a custodial parent must do if he or she wishes to move with the child – are getting a makeover. Under the new laws, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, the term “removal” has been replaced with “relocation,” arguably in recognition that a move can be disruptive to the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights regardless of whether the move is in-state or out-of-state.

New Laws Affect Moves of at Least 25-50 Miles

If a custodial parent lives in the six counties that comprise the Chicago metropolitan area (Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and/or Will County) and wants to move more than 25 miles away from the child’s present residence, the new relocation laws would apply. For custodial parents living elsewhere in Illinois, the proposed move would need to be 51 miles or more from the child’s present residence.

Custodial parents who are seeking to move out-of-state, regardless of the distance involved, would also fall under the scope of the new relocation law.

New, Expedited Relocation Procedures

If a proposed move falls under the purview of the relocation law, the custodial parent (the term “custody” will also be done away with in January 1, 2016, but the term is familiar to many in Illinois) will need to file a notice of intent to relocate with the court at least 60 days before the anticipated move. In the notice, the moving parent will give the planned date of the move, the new address, and whether the move is temporary or permanent (and, if temporary, when the custodial parent intends on returning with the child). The other parent is also provided a copy of the notice.

The other parent may sign the notice and file the signed copy with the court. If this occurs, the custodial parent may proceed with the move as planned and needs no other order from the court to accomplish the move (the notice signed by the other parent should be maintained in the custodial parent’s personal legal file for reference, if needed).

If the other parent does not agree to the move, a court hearing will need to be held and the judge will determine whether the move is permitted. The new law lists a number of factors a court may now consider in determining whether the move is in the best interest of the child, including the reason for the proposed move, the reason the other parent objects, and what opportunities the move would present for the child.

Contact Abear Law Offices for Help with Your Relocation

If you are in a dispute with your child’s other parent regarding a relocation in-state or out-of-state, the knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorneys at Abear Law Offices can help you assert your parental rights. Contact one of our offices today to learn what you must do in order to be able to legally move with your child; or, if you are a noncustodial parent opposing a move, we can assist you in opposing such a planned action.