Moving is never fun. Gathering boxes, packing your belongings, and looking for a new home in a new city are all a lot of work. When you are sharing custody of your children with an ex, however, moving goes from annoying to extremely complicated.
As a co-parent, you do not have the same rights to just move your child to another state as you would have had without a divorce or separation. In fact, you may have to convince a court to allow you to move with your child.
Petition to Remove Your Child
When you want to move your child to another state, you will have to file a petition to permanently remove your child or children. These proceedings are governed by Section 609(a) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. According to this law, a custodial parent has to obtain the trial court's permission before removing a child from Illinois.
According to Illinois law, the trial court is supposed to base its decision on whether to grant your request solely on what is in the child's best interest. As the parent who is seeking to remove the child from the state, the burden is on you to prove that the removal of your child from the state is in your child's best interests.
Five Questions the Trial Court Will Consider
The Illinois Supreme Court has posed five questions for a court to consider when deciding whether a parent who wants to remove a child from Illinois has met the burden of proof. These questions are:
- Would the move raise the quality of life of the child and the petitioning parent?
- Why is the parent requesting the removal of the child? (Is it a good faith request or is it a scam to interfere with visitation?)
- Why is the other parent opposing removal?
- What effect would removal have on visitation between the child and the other parent?
- Could a realistic and reasonable visitation schedule be worked out?
The trial court will consider your child's entire situation when answering these questions. This could include taking into account things like your child's relationship with relatives beyond you and your fellow parent and what effect the move will have on those relationships.
If you are moving because of a new job opportunity, the court may consider what effect the new job will have on your family dynamic versus the old job. It will also consider the realities of how your child will get back to Illinois to visit his or her other parent. Each of these factors comes in to play when determining what is in your child's best interests.
Call Us Today for Professional Assistance
Life changes. And as it does, changes may need to be made to your child custody agreement. When this happens, please seek the help of an experienced Illinois child custody lawyer at Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. Call us today at 630-665-7676 and we will schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. We are here to help you.