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Katz & Stefani

Relocation Lawyer Chicago

What is the issue with relocation?

A parent who has been allocated a majority of parenting time or equal parenting time may seek to “relocate” with a child. With the revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (“IMDMA”) that became effective in 2016, “relocation” language replaced the prior “removal” language. The updated IMDMA provides a procedure for notice and objection of intent to relocate. Specifically, the parent seeking to relocate must provide written notice to the other parent and file the notice with the Clerk of the Circuit Court and must provide 60 days’ notice. If the non-relocating parent has no objection and signs the Notice in agreement, no further Court action is required. Thus, when there is an agreement between the parties regarding relocation, the law provides a mechanism for them to do so without going through additional Court proceedings. If the non-relocating parent objects or the parties cannot agree on modification of the parenting plan or allocation judgment, the parent seeking to relocate must file a petition seeking permission from the Court to relocate.

Why would someone need a Chicago relocation attorney to help with a relocation matter?

It is important to note that under the current law, relocation not only applies to moves out of the State of Illinois, but also to certain moves within the State as well. Under prior law, a custodial parent could have moved from Chicago to Cairo, Illinois without asking for permission to do so and for any reason. Under the new law that became effective in 2016, a parent residing in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will Counties may move up to 25 miles from his or her current residence without leave of Court. A parent in any other county in Illinois may move up to 50 miles from their current residence without leave of Court. Also, a parent who lives less than 25 miles from the state border, may move no more than 25 miles from his or her current residence into a bordering state without leave of Court, but Illinois Courts will retain jurisdiction over the case pursuant to a cross-referencing amendment to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. For example, if a parent lives in Calumet City, Illinois (located on the Illinois/Indiana border), he or she may move to Hammond, Indiana (approximately 4 miles away) without leave of Court or permission from the other parent. Under this same example, the same parent could move up to 25 miles from Calumet City, Illinois into Indiana (for example, the parent could move to Merrillville, Indiana (21 miles away from Calumet City), but could not move to Valparaiso, Indiana (32 miles away from Calumet City) without leave of Court or permission of the other parent). The relocation provision applies to parents who have been allocated a majority or equal parenting time (parents who do not have a majority or equal parenting time are not required to obtain approval for a move unless their Allocation Judgment specifies otherwise).

Can the non-custodial parent object to relocation?

A non-custodial parent (i.e. parent with less than majority of parenting time), may absolutely object to the relocation. Also, even if the other parent believes they have no objection to the relocation, they should make sure that they are able to work out a modified parenting time schedule and other necessary modifications to an Allocation Judgment before agreeing to the relocation. In modifying an Allocation Judgment, the Court shall do so in accordance with the child’s best interests and shall consider the following factors:

  1. The circumstances and reasons for the intended relocation;
  2. The reasons, if any, why a parent is objecting to the intended relocation;
  3. The history and quality of each parent’s relationship with the child and specifically whether a parent has substantially failed or refused to exercise the parental responsibilities allocated to him or her under the parenting plan or allocation judgment;
  4. The educational opportunities for the child at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
  5. The presence or absence of extended family at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
  6. The anticipated impact of the relocation on the child;
  7. Whether the Court will be able to fashion a reasonable allocation of parental responsibilities between all parents if the relocation occurs;
  8. The wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to relocation;
  9. Possible arrangements for the exercise of parental responsibilities appropriate to the parents’ resources and circumstances and the developmental level of the child;
  10. Minimization of the impairment to a parent-child relationship caused by a parent’s relocation; and
  11. Any other relevant factors bearing on the child’s best interests.

What are reasons with relocation?

If a parent believes he or she may have the need to relocate, he or she should contact a Chicago relocation attorney as soon as possible to discuss the process and likelihood of success based on the factual circumstances of that case. The most common reasons a parent may seek to relocate are due to employment opportunities available to him or her in another location or employment opportunities for a new spouse.

How can your Chicago relocation lawyers help someone with relocation issue?

Chicago relocation attorneys at Katz & Stefani, LLC can assist parents who are either seeking to relocate or whose former spouse is seeking to relocate. Before a parent seeks to relocate, he or she should contact a Chicago relocation attorney to determine the likelihood of succeeding on such a request which depends on the factual circumstances in each case. For example, the Court will take into consideration the factors set forth above when determining what is in the child’s best interests. In addition, many Allocation Judgments include mediation requirements and a parent may have an obligation to attend mediation prior to filing a petition to the extent time allows or as required.

Katz & Stefani

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Katz & Stefani, LLC
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