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Understanding the Legal Implications of Relocating with a Child After a Custody Agreement in Illinois

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Understanding the Legal Implications of Relocating with a Child After a Custody Agreement in Illinois
Published
February 19, 2024
Author
dpinkston@pinkstonlawgroup.com
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Navigating the complexities of custody agreements is a challenging aspect of family law that requires a deep understanding and thoughtful consideration of the best interests of the child involved. For families in Illinois, relocating with a child after a custody agreement is in place can be particularly complicated. It’s essential to understand the legal framework and implications of such a decision to ensure compliance with state laws and to safeguard the child’s well-being.

Legal Framework in Illinois

In Illinois, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act governs child custody arrangements, now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities. According to the act, any relocation with a child that affects a custody agreement is subject to specific legal requirements and potentially court approval.

Relocation is defined differently based on the child’s current residence. For instance, in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will counties, moving more than 25 miles from the child’s current primary residence, even if still within Illinois, is considered relocation. For residents outside these counties, the distance extends to 50 miles within Illinois or 25 miles to another state.

Seeking Permission to Relocate

The primary step for a custodial parent considering relocation is to seek the other parent’s written consent. This consent should ideally be informed, meaning the non-relocating parent fully understands the implications of the move on their parenting time and the child’s life.

If the non-custodial parent agrees to the relocation, the process can be relatively straightforward, involving filing the agreement with the court for approval. However, if the non-custodial parent objects, the custodial parent must then file a petition with the court seeking permission to relocate.

Court Consideration Factors

When a parent files a petition to relocate, the court examines several factors to determine whether the move serves the child’s best interests. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The reasons for the intended relocation.
  • The reasons the other parent opposes the move.
  • The history and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child.
  • The educational, health, and leisure opportunities available in the new location compared to the current residence.
  • The impact of the relocation on the child’s relationship with the non-relocating parent and other close family members.

It’s crucial for parents to understand that the court’s primary concern is the child’s well-being and maintaining a healthy relationship with both parents.

Practical Considerations

Beyond legal requirements, parents should consider the practical implications of relocation, such as the logistics of parenting time for the non-relocating parent, the financial and emotional costs of moving, and the potential benefits of the new location for the child’s development and family life.

How Pinkston Law Group, P.C. Can Help

Relocating with a child after a custody agreement is in place is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly. The legal team at Pinkston Law Group, P.C. is dedicated to guiding you through this complex process. Our experienced family law attorneys can provide the legal advice and representation needed to navigate the legalities of relocation, from seeking consent to petitioning the court, ensuring the best interests of your child are at the forefront.

Call to Action

If you’re considering relocating with your child or have questions about your custody agreement, contact Pinkston Law Group, P.C. today. Our compassionate and knowledgeable team is here to support you every step of the way, ensuring that your rights and the best interests of your child are protected. Schedule a consultation with us to discuss your situation and explore your options. Your family’s future is important, and we’re here to help you navigate it with confidence.

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