Photo of Karen Lavin

When an Illinois couple marries, they normally commit to living in the same place. But, if they split, that commitment no longer applies. That means the couple may move miles, states or even countries away. No problem, right? Sure, unless the couple had a kid together. In that case, the move can become a major child custody issue, because the move may mean that only one parent gets to see the child on a day-to-day basis.

When that happens, the couple needs to reconsider their current child custody arrangement. If they cannot agree on their own, then a court will need to enter the mix. If so, the court will decide how to divvy up child custody based on the best interest of the child.

To decide what is in the child’s best interest, the court will consider a variety of factors. It will look at the child’s age — the younger the child, the more detrimental the move will likely be viewed. Another factor is the child’s relationship with each parent. For example, does the child have a stronger relationship with one parent? Is the child estranged from the other parent? Which parent would the child like to live with? Yet another factor is the distance of the move, especially if the move takes the parent to a new country.

Illinois residents who find themselves in this situation — either as a parent wanting to make a move or as a parent wanting to stop one — may benefit from getting more information about their options. Doing so could be an important step towards favorably resolving the issue.

Source: Huffington Post, “In the Child’s Best Interest: What It Means in Move-Away Cases,” Lisa Helfend, April 14, 2014