The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/609.2 was amended in 2016 to place greater restrictions on Parent Relocation. This section refers to when a parent who has been awarded a majority of or equal parenting time seeks to relocate with a child and change the child's current primary residence. While the former Act only required court permission to move a child to a new residence outside the state, the new law is stricter.
Under the new Act, parents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County must have court permission to move a child more than 25 miles from the child's current residence to a new residence in the state. Parents in all other Illinois counties must have court permission to move a child more than 50 miles from his or her current residence. If the parent moves a child 25 miles or less but outside of the state, Illinois will still be considered the child's home state under subsection (c) of Section 202 of the Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.
The relocating parent must provide written notice of the relocation to the other parent at least 60 days prior, unless such notice is impracticable or unless otherwise ordered by the court. In addition, the relocating parent must file a copy of the notice with the clerk of the circuit court.
If the non-relocating parent agrees and signs the notice, the court will then modify the parenting plan or allocation judgment to reflect the parent's relocation, as long as it is in the child's best interests. However, if the non-relocating parent objects to the relocation, fails to sign the notice, or the parents cannot agree on modification of the parenting plan or allocation judgment, the parent seeking relocation must file a petition asking court permission to relocate.
The court will modify the parenting plan or allocation judgment if it is in the child's best interests. The court will consider the following factors:
- the circumstances and reasons for the intended relocation;
- the reasons, if any, why a parent is objecting to the intended relocation;
- 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;
- the educational opportunities for the child at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
- the presence or absence of extended family at the existing location and at the proposed new location;
- the anticipated impact of the relocation on the child;
- whether the court will be able to fashion a reasonable allocation of parental responsibilities between all parents if the relocation occurs;
- the wishes of the child, taking into account the child's maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to relocation;
- possible arrangements for the exercise of parental responsibilities appropriate to the parents" resources and circumstances and the developmental level of the child;
- minimization of the impairment to a parent-child relationship caused by a parent's relocation; and
- any other relevant factors bearing on the child's best interests.