Getting a parenting plan or allocation judgment finalized after a divorce can be an enormous relief for both parents. Even if parental responsibilities are not allocated precisely as you would have liked, you know your rights and responsibilities when it comes to making important decisions about your child’s upbringing and how often you will be spending time with your child and providing caretaking functions. Accordingly, learning that you got offered a new job in another city can be exciting and anxiety-inducing as you wonder, “Can I move to a new city with my child if there is an existing allocation judgment in place?”
Whether you will be able to move with your child to another city depends on many different factors. This question is only really applicable to parents who share relatively equal parenting time or have a majority of parenting time. If that is not your situation—if relatively little parenting time was allocated to you—then you may not need to deal with the issue of relocation at all. Yet if you do share parenting time or have a majority of parenting time, it is important to understand how “relocation” works under Illinois law.
How Far Away is the New City, and Where do You Currently Live?
The first question when determining whether you can move to a new city with your child is how far the new place is from your current residence. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), you will only need to consider “relocation” if one of the following situations is true:
- Child’s current primary residence is in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County, and the new residence is more than 25 miles from that current resident;
- Child’s current primary residence is not listed among the counties above, and the new residence is more than 50 miles from that current primary residence; or
- New residence is outside the state of Illinois and is more than 25 miles from the child’s current primary residence.
For example, if the child’s current primary residence is in downtown Chicago and your new job requires you to move to a new house in the suburbs in DuPage County, you will likely not even need to deal with relocation as long as the new residence is fewer than 25 miles from the current residence. Similarly, if you currently reside on the Illinois-Indiana border and plan to move out-of-state into Indiana but within a short distance of your current residence, relocation likely will not be an issue.
Does the Other Parent Agree to the Relocation?
If you do need to deal with relocation, then you will need to modify your parenting plan or allocation judgment accordingly. Relocation constitutes a substantial change in circumstances, so it is a reason to modify an existing judgment. To modify your judgment because of relocation, you will need to provide the other parent with a written notice of the planned relocation at least 60 days before it happens. That notice should provide information about when you plan to relocate, your exact address at the new location, and whether you plan for the move to be permanent.
If the other parent agrees, it is relatively easy to modify the existing judgment. Even if the other parent does not agree, the court can still modify a judgment so that you can relocate. The court will need to determine whether the move is in the child’s best interests.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Illinois
Do you need assistance with relocation? An Illinois child custody lawyer can assist you. Contact the Law Offices of George M. Sanders, P.C. today to get started on your case with an advocate at our firm.