Over the Line: Moving Children Out of State after a Divorce

Divorce can often have a various surprising impacts on a familys life long after the case has run its course. One common way that this has been seen in recent years is the issue of relocation, a parent with custody moving the child out of state. Custodial parents are not free to do this on a whim. Instead, they need a court order before they will be allowed to take the child out of state. This has become a major issue in recent years with more and more parents moving out of state as they look for work. Consequently, parents should be aware of how courts decide relocation cases, and the impact that a relocation decision can have on a visitation schedule.

How Courts Decide Relocation Cases

The major issue with relocation cases is that if only one parent is moving out of state, uprooting the child can interfere with the relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. Therefore, courts are leery of allowing that without good reason, and the moving parent must demonstrate that the move would be in the childs best interests. Illinois law provides five concrete factors that courts should look to when determining what the childs best interest is. The five factors are:

  • The likelihood that moving would increase the child and custodial parents quality of life;
  • The custodial parents motives in asking for the move;
  • The noncustodial parents motives in objecting to the move;
  • How the move would impact the noncustodial parents visitation rights; and
  • Whether the court could implement a realistic visitation schedule if it allows the move to go forward.

If the court decides that, on balance, these five factors make it seem as though the move is in the childs best interests, then the court will likely grant the custodial parent the ability to move out of state with the child. Additionally, the court will also likely reconfigure the visitation schedule to accommodate this.

Visitation after Relocation

Visitation scheduling following an out-of-state relocation will be done with an eye towards the practical realities of trying to accomplish visitation at such an increased distance. For instance, courts will probably award longer continuous blocks of visitation to avoid forcing either the child or noncustodial parent to be constantly traveling back and forth. Additionally, these long blocks mean that visitation for children who have been relocated out of state will likely be more concentrated during vacations from school to accommodate these longer blocks.

Filing for divorce is a major decision that can impact a persons life for years. If you are considering filing for divorce, make sure you get all the information about the process beforehand. Contact a dedicated Naperville divorce attorney today to learn more about how the divorce process works.

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