Following a divorce or break-up, it can be extremely difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with your child, particularly if you have been allotted less parenting time and responsibilities than the other parent. Maintaining such a connection generally requires cooperation from the other parent in addition to your own commitment to your son or daughter. The situation becomes even more challenging, however, when the other parent decides that he or she wants to move to a new city or state with your child. Recent changes to the law in Illinois have clarified the rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding this type of move—known as a relocation—and it is important for you to understand what your options may be.
What Is a Relocation?
According to the recently-amended Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a relocation is defined as a change in residence by a parent with primary residential responsibility of the child that exceeds certain geographic limitations. Specifically, the law considers a move to be a relocation if the parent and child are moving:
- More than 25 miles to a new home in Illinois from a current residence located in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake or Will Counties;
- More than 50 miles to a new home in Illinois from a current residence located in any other Illinois county;
- More than 25 miles to a new home outside of Illinois from a current residence located in any Illinois county.
If the other parent wishes to move with the child within the geographic guidelines, he or she may do so without consulting you or requiring a change to your parental arrangement.
Your Consent or Court Approval
Before the relocation can occur, the other parent must notify you of his or her intent to move and seek your consent. Based upon the circumstances of the situation, you may be fine with the idea and grant your approval. However, if you believe that the move would severely compromise the strong relationship you currently enjoy with your child, you may be inclined to refuse. If you do not agree to the relocation, the other parent can ask the court to override your refusal.
In order for the court to approve the relocation, the requesting parent will need to show that new location offers better opportunities and that the move will serve the child’s best interests overall. That parent must also show that the move will not significantly damage the existing relationship between you and your child, and that he or she will make efforts to foster that relationship. During the proceedings, you will have the opportunity to express your concerns and to prove that the relocation would dramatically affect your rights as a parent.
Seek Legal Help
Protecting your parental rights can be difficult, but the relationship you enjoy with your child is worth the required to effort. If you are currently facing a relocation dispute, contact an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Call 630-377-7770 to schedule a free consultation at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., today.