Determining which parent should receive custody of a child in the aftermath of a divorce can be a difficult process for both the parents and the child. Illinois distinguishes between legal and physical custody. Legal custody allows a parent to make important decisions in a child’s life, including which school the child will attend. Physical custody, on the other hand, regards where the child will actually live.
When courts decide who receives physical custody of a child, the number one factor they consider is the best interests of the child. Once physical custody is decided, both parents must agree and follow the terms of the custody agreement approved by the court. Often times, although one parent may receive physical custody of a child, the other parent may still make it a priority to see the child often and be present for all important milestones in the child’s life. Therefore, things can become complicated when circumstances change and a parent who has physical custody of the child wants to move out of state for a new love or gets relocated for a job. How does relocating a child affect a preexisting custody agreement?
Illinois Law Regarding Child Relocation
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act regulates rules related to child custody and divorce in Illinois. According to Illinois law, a child cannot be removed from the state and relocated to another state without a court order. In order to remove a child from Illinois, the custodial parent (parent with custody over the child) must prove to the court that the move is in the best interests of the child. Courts will also evaluate other factors to determine whether the relocation should be granted, such as:
- Whether the move will improve the quality of life of the custodial parent and child;
- How the move will affect the non-custodial parent and their visitation; and
- Whether the non-custodial parent will be able to implement an appropriate visitation schedule.
Although a move may be beneficial to the custodial parent, courts want to see how the move will benefit the child. Thus, a custodial parent who wishes to relocate with their child to another state should take extra care to address issues related to the above factors. It is also important to note that once relocation is granted by the Illinois court, deciding which state shall have the right to rule on custody matters will be resolved using the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA).
Seek Help from a Child Relocation Attorney
The decision to relocate a child may be complex, especially when considering the non-custodial parent. If you are contemplating relocating your child and moving out of state to pursue a better life for you both, contact an experienced DuPage County child relocation attorney at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. to help you through the process. Our skilled attorneys will help you gather enough evidence to show the courts that the move is in the best interest of your child.