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Do I Need Permission From My Child’s Other Parent to Relocate?After getting divorced, many individuals will choose to have a fresh start, and for some, this means moving to a new place in a new location. For those going through the major life changes that inevitably come with divorce, this fresh start can be a good way to move forward towards a future that is focused on their happiness. However, for those with children, it may not be that easy. Divorcing couples with children will forever be connected by their shared kids. With parenting time agreements and child support payments, it may feel as if this new beginning may never start. Making the decision to move with your children may be restricted depending on the circumstances, and it is important to avoid violating this restriction as it can lead to serious legal consequences.

What is Considered Relocation?

Not every change of residence is considered relocation. For instance, the state cannot restrict you if you would simply like to move down the street to start fresh in a new house. However, anyone looking to relocate with their children will need permission from their child’s other parent or from the court. So, what is considered relocation by Illinois law?

  • If the child’s current primary residence is in DuPage, Cook, Lake, Kane, McHenry, or Will County and you move them to a location within Illinois that is more than 25 miles from their current residence
  • If the child’s current primary residence is not in one of the abovementioned counties and you move them to a location in Illinois that is more than 50 miles from their current residence
  • If you move the child outside of the state of Illinois and their new residence is over 25 miles away from their current residence

How Do I Get Permission?

If the parent who is the primary caretaker of the child would like to relocate with their child, they will need to provide their child’s other parent with written notification of their intent to move. This must be done 60 days before the parent and child intend to relocate, and it must inform the other parent of their intended move date, their new residence’s location, and the length of time that the relocation will last if it is not intended to be indefinite. The non-relocating parent is able to sign the relocation notice, granting the moving parties permission to do so, if they are comfortable with the relocation taking place. If this is the case, court permission is not required. However, many parents may not be comfortable with their child being so far away from them. If the non-moving parent refuses to sign the notice, the relocating parent may file their request with the court. The court may also deny the request; however, they will be looking at the request from a much different perspective. With no emotional investment to the parents or child, the court can act as the necessary third-party to determine whether or not this move is really in the best interests of the child. In many cases, impartial judgment may be necessary as emotions can often cloud a parent’s judgment on both ends.

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An Overview of Child Relocation Requests in IllinoisRelocating your family to a new environment can play a role in your divorce proceeding or come up after the ink has dried on your divorce papers.

Although you believe moving your child 500 miles away from where your divorce occurred will be good for them, the court and your child’s other parent may not agree.

In Illinois, the parent with primary parenting time does not need court approval to move with their children if the other parent does not object or the move is within 25 miles of their current residence in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake or McHenry counties. For other counties, the limit is 50 miles. Any move outside of those set mile ranges must be filed by written notice and approved by the court.

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Will County child custody attorney

When parents are in the middle of a battle over the allocation of parental responsibilities, the state of affairs can be intense. In some cases, the parenting dispute can result in one parent taking the child without the consent and knowledge of the other parent or the court. Despite their status as a legal parent, this still qualifies as “kidnapping” or “child abduction” and can turn a civil case into a criminal case with harsh consequences for the offending parent.

Child Abduction

Kidnapping is a felony in Illinois, and a conviction can result in fines, probation and jail time. An individual will be charged with child abduction when he/she does one of the following: 

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Can a Parent’s Mental Health Impact Parenting Time in Illinois?According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one out of every five American adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives and nearly 10 million adults live with a chronic and serious mental illness. Mental illnesses can vary greatly when it comes to the severity and how they affect your life. Having a mental illness can mean you have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, an eating disorder or even post-traumatic stress disorder. By far, the most common mental illnesses are depression, which affects around seven percent of adults, and anxiety disorders, which affect around 18.1 percent of adults.

When it comes to divorce, mental illness can definitely play a part in how the divorce is hashed out. Depending on the type and severity of the mental illness, it can even affect things such as parenting time and parental responsibilities in a divorce.

Understanding the Child’s Best Interests

When it comes to any issue involving the children in a divorce, the court’s first and foremost concern is the child’s wellbeing. The court’s main goal is to ensure that the child is being taken care of and is given every possible opportunity to flourish in life. If decisions are left to the court, the court will make child-related decisions based on the child’s best interests. The court will take into consideration factors such as:

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Do Not Forget About the Right of First Refusal During Parenting Time NegotiationsCo-parenting is not easy. Balancing the responsibilities of taking care of children between you and your co-parent is challenging even for couples who are together. When you become a single parent, balancing these responsibilities become more difficult to manage. Many divorcing parents often worry about the fact that they will most likely have to split their parenting time with their soon-to-be-ex-spouse. It is hard for many parents to cope with the fact that they may not see their children every day anymore or be there for every one of their child’s milestones or achievements. One small solace that can be awarded to divorcing parents is what is known as the right of first refusal.

What is the Right of First Refusal?

Illinois courts strongly encourage parents to come to their own agreement on child-related issues such as parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then the court will step in to allocate parenting time and decision-making responsibilities in the child’s best interest. If the court must step in, it may award either parent the right of first refusal, which is a clause in the parenting plan that states that the other parent must be the first person to be offered the right to care for the child if the parent cannot watch the child during his or her designated parenting time. The parent must ask the other parent if they are able to or would like to care for the child before they seek alternative options for childcare.

Right of First Refusal Agreements

The court is not the only one who can create a right of first refusal agreement. If the parents agree to come up with a parenting plan on their own, they are permitted to include information about the right of first refusal if they please. Clauses about the right of first refusal should include:

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