Relocating with a Child After Divorce

relocating with a child after divorce

Parents breaking up comes with a lot of issues to unpack. The parents have to adjust to new living arrangements, learn to interact in a new role as parents and not lovers, and most importantly, the child has to adjust to not having both their centers of support in the same home. With so many different changing dynamics to contemplate, the last thing a parent going through a break-up should have to deal with is if their child might move away without their consent.

What Constitutes a Relocation?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “IMDMA”) requires that a parent with the majority of parenting time must ask permission in order to move with the minor child if the move entails a change of residence that is more than 25 miles from their Cook, Will, DuPage, Kane, McHenry or Lake Counties; or if the move if 50 miles from any Illinois county other than the six counties just listed. Any such move is called “relocation” (750 ILCS 5/600(g); 5/609.2).

Barring an agreement between the parents, the parent seeking to relocate has to file a motion with the court, giving the objecting parent at least sixty (60) days’ notice of their intent to ask the court for permission. If this does not happen and the parent takes the child anyway, then the objecting parent may have the relocating parent held in contempt, ask for an order or protection against the relocating parent, or have other penalties and disciplinary action carried out by the court.

In a hearing or trial to determine whether the child can go to the new area, the judges will evaluate the potential move based on the 11 factors listed in Section 609.2 of the IMDMA. In addition to factors such as the reason for the move, the anticipated duration, and the reason for the objection to the move, the court will also take into consideration  “any other factors bearing on the child’s best interests”. This gives judges a lot of discretion to say yea or nay to a request to relocate.

What Can I Do if My Ex Is Relocating?

Any parent seeking to object to a move should act sooner rather than later. If one of the parents moves with the minor child and more than six (6) months passes without anything being filed with the court, then the general rule is that Illinois loses jurisdiction (the power to rule on the matter). This would mean the objecting parent would have to travel to the new potential area in order to have the child returned.

Regardless of whether you are a mother or father, or your share of parenting time, you have a say in your child’s living situation. If your spouse is considering relocating (or has relocated) with your child, reach out now to see how one of our qualified domestic relations attorneys can help you assert your rights as a parent.