08 May Moving During Co-Parenting
What is Relocation
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a parent’s relocation with the child to a new residence is governed by Section 609.2. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has three definitions of relocation:
“(1) a change of residence from the child’s current primary residence located in the county of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will to a new residence within this State that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current residence, as measured by an Internet mapping service;
(2) a change of residence from the child’s current primary residence located in a county not listed in paragraph (1) to a new residence within this State that is more than 50 miles from the child’s current primary residence, as measured by an Internet mapping service; or
(3) a change of residence from the child’s current primary residence to a residence outside the borders of this State that is more than 25 miles from the current primary residence, as measured by an Internet mapping service.”
750 ILCS 5/600.
What Needs to be Done to Relocate
In order to relocate with the minor child, the parent who has majority or equal parenting time seeking relocation must give at least sixty (60) days written notice to the other parent under the allocation judgment or parenting plan before the relocation occurs. The notice must include:
- The intended date of the relocation;
- The address of the parent’s new residence, if known; and
- The length of time the relocation will last if the relocation is not for an indefinite or permanent period.
If parties agree and sign the notice of relocation, the relocation will be approved. If the parties cannot agree, and one parent unilaterally relocates with the child, it could be a basis for an emergency motion for the return of the child to Illinois.
What Should be Considered when Deciding to Relocate
A co-parent should carefully consider how the relocation could affect their parenting time, the other parties’ parenting time, parenting time exchanges with the other co-parent, and how the relocation will affect the ability of both parents to co-parent the child. The child’s education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities should also be considered.
For example, relocating from Illinois to California will definitely make parenting time exchanges expensive and burdensome on both parties, likely involve air travel, and will likely require a modification of both parties’ parenting time schedules. When determining issues related to relocation, as with other parenting issues, the Court will apply the “best interest of the child” standard.
Parties in a divorce or parentage case should carefully plan a potential relocation, give proper notice to the other party, and attempt to come to an agreement concerning how the relocation will affect both parties’ parenting time and the co-parenting of the child. If the parties are co-parenting pursuant to an agreement, the agreement may need to be modified in light of the relocation.
Properly planning a relocation while co-parenting is necessary in order to avoid costly litigation in addition to the remainder of the relocating parent’s moving expenses. Parties who are considering relocating and are co-parenting subject to an agreement or judgment should contact an experienced attorney well before the relocation has taken place.
GQ Law is experienced with all aspects of divorce cases involving disputes regarding the parties’ minor children. If you are co-parenting and considering relocating or if your co-parent has decided to relocate, GQ Law can assist.