Pursuant to Section 609.2 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/609.2), a parent who has been allocated the majority of parenting time may seek to relocate with the child. In the event that parenting time has been allocated equally between the parents, either parent may seek to relocate with the child.
When a parent intends to relocate they must file a written notice with the clerk of the circuit court, generally at least sixty (60) days prior to their intended move. At the very least the notice should state the intended date of the relocation, the parent’s new address, and how long the relocation will last, if not permanent.
If the non-relocating parent objects to the relocation, fails to sign the notice, or the parents cannot agree on modification of the parenting plan or allocation judgment, the parent seeking relocation must file a petition seeking permission to relocate.
When deciding whether or not to grant a Petition for Relocation the court will consider a number of factors. The court will only modify the parties’ parenting plan or allocation judgment if it is in the child’s best interests. Of course, the court will be interested in why the parent wants to relocate in the first place. What is the reason behind the intended relocation? Sometimes a parent may have been offered an employment opportunity and other times maybe a parent just wants a fresh start somewhere else. The court will also want to know why the other parent is objecting to the proposed relocation. How involved is the objecting-parent in the child’s life? If the child is mature enough, the court may take into consideration their opinion regarding the proposed move.
The most important factors the court will consider relate to how the relocation will directly impact the child. The court will look at the child’s current life. What educational opportunities are currently available to the child? What extra-curricular activities is the child involved in? Does the child spend a lot of time with the objecting-parent? Does the child have extended family members close to their current location? What would the answers to those questions be if they were asked about the intended relocation residence? That is what the court is interested in learning.
If a parent is objecting to your intended move it is best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible.