Legal Implications of Relocating Children

Jonathan Merel logo

Relocating a child has significant legal implications in the context of established parental responsibilities and time-sharing between divorced parents. In 2016, the Section 600 Series of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) implemented significant changes to the state’s family laws. One of the most significant changes the IMDMA made was to the law regarding relocating children.

Under the IMDMA, “relocation” is defined to cover the following three scenarios where the child moves from their “current primary residence”:

  • Moving to “a new residence within Illinois that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current residence as measured by an internet mapping service” for residents of Illinois in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake McHenry or Will County (Illinois).
  • Moving to “a county that is more than 50 miles from the minor child’s primary residence [for residents of Illinois who reside outside the counties of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will]…”
  • Moving to “a residence outside the borders of Illinois that is more than 25 miles from the current primary residence…”

The 2016 changes to the IMDMA also set for a protocol for the relocation process. Requirements regarding the relocation of a child include notice to the other parent about relocation at least 60 days before relocating. The notice must contain the intended date of relocation and the address of the new home.

Issues Related to Modifying Court Orders

Under Illinois law, orders regarding child custody and child support may be modified based on a showing of a substantial change in circumstances. Under the IMDMA, relocation is explicitly considered to be a significant change in circumstances that may be evaluated for purposes of modifying orders regarding parental responsibilities or parenting time.

As a result, a court might use the fact of a child’s relocation to completely review its orders regarding child custody and shared parental responsibilities.

Contact a Qualified Attorney from The Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C.

If you are planning to relocate with a child over whom you share custody with a separated parent, it is in your best interests to consult an attorney regarding the legal implications of such a relocation. At the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., our legal team can advise about the requirements and consequences of relocating to another city or state. We can guide through each part of our legal analysis to make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of your rights and obligations regarding the relocation with your child to a new home.

Consult with one of our skilled lawyers regarding your legal rights and options. Contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C. at (312) 487-2795 today.