These practice area statements are provided by the attorneys from Murphy & Dunn and represent their thoughts on practicing law over the past 36 years in family law. They are not legal advice. They are a general overview of the law, with specific statutes cited for your review, and opinions on how they generally apply in divorce cases in Illinois. Each and every case is different.
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New Illinois Law Permits Temporary Relocation of a Child
By: Alec D. Murphy
Divorced or separated parents often desire to move residences with their child. This is called “relocation” of the child. Under Illinois Law, “a parent who has been allocated a majority of parenting time or either parent who has been allocated equal parenting time may seek to relocate with a child.” 750 ILCS 5/609.2(b).
However, not every move of residences is considered a “relocation.” The statute specifies as follows:
(g) “Relocation” means:
(1) a change of residence from the child’s current primary residence located in the county of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will to a new residence within this State that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current residence, as measured by an Internet mapping service;
(2) a change of residence from the child’s current primary residence located in a county not listed in paragraph (1) to a new residence within this State that is more than 50 miles from the child’s current primary residence, as measured by an Internet mapping service; or
(3) a change of residence from the child’s current primary residence to a residence outside the borders of this State that is more than 25 miles from the current primary residence, as measured by an Internet mapping service. 750 ILCS 5/600.
Previously when the parents disagreed about the relocation, the parent seeking to relocate was not permitted to move with the child until a Final Order was entered permitting the relocation. Effective on January 1, 2022, however, Illinois relocation law now permits a court to allow a parent to relocate with their child on a temporary basis while the case is pending. The statute now states,
(a-5) A court may order the relocation of the child on a temporary basis before the entry of a final allocation judgment if it is in the best interests of the child. Any relocation shall be considered temporary in nature and shall not prejudice either parent in the allocation of parental responsibilities contained in a final allocation judgment. Any relocation shall be made in accordance with the protocol set forth in subsections (c) through (g) of Section 609.2 [750 ILCS 5/609.2].750 ILCS 5/603.5.
The temporary relocation of a child is not automatically permitted, however. The court must consider what is “in the best interests of the child.” This is based on the court’s review of various factors such as: the reason for the relocation, the history of parenting responsibilities, the wishes of the parents and child, and educational opportunities at both locations, among other factors. If the court finds that the temporary relocation is in the child’s best interests, the new law now allows the court to allow that temporary relocation immediately instead of waiting until the end of the case.
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