Photo of Karen Lavin

Illinois readers may be interested in the story of woman from a nearby state. The woman fled her home state with her child in tow, which violated her child custody agreement.

The child’s father dropped the child off with the mother per the child custody arrangement. When he came to pick the child up several days later, he found the mother’s apartment empty and an eviction notice posted on the door.

Federal marshals and local authorities searched for her. The woman, however, ultimately turned herself in on charges of interfering with child custody.

At her bail hearing, a court set her bail at $25,000. If the woman is found guilty she could be sentenced to over a decade in jail as well as more than $20,000 in fines. She has also been ordered to have no contact with the child and father.

Illinois parents looking to relocate with their kids should not follow the woman’s lead. Instead, they should follow the ensuing steps. First, talk to your co-parent. If you can get express consent to move with the child as well as a proposed visitation schedule, that is best. Generally, the visitation schedule should include significant time during holidays, spring break and the summer months to make up for the lack of day-to-day visitation.

You may also want to modify child custody so that the parent who relocates with the child has authority to make decisions regarding the child’s health, education and the like.

Often though the parents will not be able to agree on a relocation plan. In that case, you will have to go to court. If so, the court will consider a variety of factors, but the overarching principle behind those factors is what would be in the best interests of the child.

Source: The Post Crescent, “$25,000 bail set for former Fox Cities woman in child custody,” Jim Collar, May 3, 2013