If you are divorced, and are considering moving to another state with your children, think twice. Illinois law prohibits the removal of children to another state without court permission. As the courts make their determination, the best interest of the child will always be the main factor. However, best interest is based on several other factors. Therefore, if the custodial parent wishes to leave the state and bring the child, he or she is subject to the decision of a judge on the matter. Failure to comply with Illinois code (750 ILCS 5/609) (from Ch. 40, par. 609) may result in the forfeiting of custodial rights. For further clarification on what is considered by the courts as they make their determination on removal proceedings, please see the following.
Motives of both parents. It is not uncommon for parents to put the best interest of their child on the backburner as he or she seeks to satisfy his or her own personal vendettas. Child custody cases are often accompanied with mixed emotions, and the relationship between the parents is often not a harmonious one. Because of this, the courts will step in to ensure that the best interest of the child is considered above all else, and that his or her needs are met.
Current visitation schedule.
The courts will assess the frequency and regularity of visitation between the child and the non-custodial parent as they determine whether the move will be in the best interest of the child. If the non-custodial parent has been uninvolved up until this point, and has not had active visitation with the child, the odds may be in favor of the parent desiring to move. However, if the non-custodial parent has taken advantage of his/her visitation rights and remained involved in his/her child's life, the courts will consider this as well.
The potential of the move to enhance the life of the parent/child.
Many different factors play a role in determining the quality of life for the child, as his/her best interest is taken into consideration. Such factors include the effects of switching schools, leaving behind friendships/family members, and the presence or absence of extended family members in the new state. The courts will also consider how the move will benefit the custodial parent. While life enhancements for the parent may not directly benefit the child, the ways in which the child can be indirectly benefitted will be considered.
The potential to establish reasonable visitation.
With the child residing in a different state than the non-custodial parent, the courts will consider whether or not it is possible for a visitation schedule to be established. If the non-custodial parent is willing and able to accept a visitation schedule such as summer break, Christmas break, and spring break visitation, and if the custodial parent is equally willing to comply with such a schedule, visitation can easily be established.
Each family comes with its own unique situation, and consulting an experienced child custody attorney is often in the best interest of both the child(ren) and parents involved. For more information on your options regarding removal proceedings, please feel free to contact The Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler in Rockford, IL at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.