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How does relocation impact child custody?

Photo of Karen Lavin


For many Illinoisans, child custody is tough enough when both parents live near each other. But what happens when one parent wants to move hundreds of miles away or even across state lines? The answer (unsurprisingly) is that it depends. It depends on what the noncustodial says; it depends on how far the custodial parent wants to move; it depends on the child's best interest. Below are three questions and answers that shed some light on how these factors influence the outcome.

What if both parents agree to the move? Usually a court will allow a custodial parent to move if the non-custodial parent has agreed in writing to the move and the subsequent affects that move will have on child custody and visitation.

What if both parents do not agree to the move? A court will need to consider whether the move is in the best interest of the child. If yes, the court may allow the move and modify the child-custody agreement. If no, the court may bar the move.

If a move is permitted, what happens next? As part of moving, the relocating parent must draw up a visitation schedule addressing where and when a noncustodial parent can visit the child. The proposed schedule usually must include extended access during school breaks such as over the summer months, during spring break and through major holidays.

What these answers suggest is that relocation can get messy. Pursuing relocation can cause conflict and send parents back to court. But sometimes those risks are worth the benefit. If so, Illinoisans involved in a relocation dispute may benefit from discussing their case with an experienced child-custody attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody Relocation Laws," Accessed Dec. 9, 2014

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