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posted on 1/3/22

Five years ago, a Chicago couple decided to get divorced. They have three young children under the age of 12. The wife has accepted a position in Cape Girardeau in Southern Illinois. Her ex-husband is highly concerned that he will not spend enough time with his children if she moves. It is a six-hour drive to her potential new location. He wants to fight his spouse’s move away from Chicago. In 2016, Illinois divorce and family law changed significantly. One of those changes involved relocating with children within and outside of Illinois.

Changes to Illinois’ Relocation Law

Under the previous law, a custodial parent could relocate anywhere within Illinois without obtaining the court’s permission. A parent who wanted to relocate with their children to another state needed authorization from the court before moving. Under the new law, when the relocating parents remain within the new radius restrictions, the parent doesn’t need permission before moving. Under the old law, parents couldn’t move over 20 miles away from Woodstock, Illinois, to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, without getting court approval. Under the new law, parents would be able to relocate without court permission as long as the new location was within the statutory milage allowance.

In this case, the mother who would like to move to Cape Girardeau will not be able to move without getting permission from the court. This is because the new law does not allow someone to move from a residence in Cook County more than 25 miles from the child’s current residence. In this case, the mother would need to go through the legal process to relocate to southern Illinois.

Obtaining Permission to Relocated

A parent who intends to relocate outside of the radius restrictions needs to provide written notice to the other parent. The parent who intends to move needs to file a copy of this notice with the court clerk. The other parent must receive the notice at least 60 days before the proposed relocation unless that timeframe is impractical or otherwise ordered. The court can consider failing to comply with notice requirements when determining whether the parent wanting to relocate is acting in good faith.

If the non-relocating parent signs a notice and it is filed with the court, the parent can go ahead and relocate without any further action by the court. However, the non-relocating parent can choose to object to the relocation or fail to sign the notice. Additionally, the parents may disagree on modifying their parental allocation judgment. In this case, the parents seeking relocation will need to file a petition to the court to allow the relocation.

At this stage, the intent to relocate needs to go through the mediation, negotiation, and litigation process. Under the new law, relocating constitutes a substantial change in circumstances. The court will consider many factors. The parent who does not want the other parent to relocate will be able to present evidence showing that the move will not be in the children’s best interest.

Discuss Your Case With an Illinois Divorce Attorney Today

If you need representation for a divorce or child support matter in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is here to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.