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Important Considerations for Moving With Your Child After Your Divorce

Posted on in Children of divorce

St. Charles IL divorce lawyerAfter a divorce, Illinois law permits a parent to move with their children to a new location within 25 miles of their current home in the counties surrounding Chicago, or within 50 miles of their current home anywhere else in the state, in some cases even across state lines. Relocations of a greater distance are sometimes possible with the approval of the court. However, regardless of your intended destination, a move can create significant stress for your children.

Factors to Consider Before Making the Decision to Move

If you are preparing for a divorce and are considering the possibility of moving with your child after the split, it is wise to explore the potential advantages and disadvantages of making yet another big change in the midst of the end of your marriage. On one hand, the idea of starting over and tackling all of the transitions at once can be appealing, but moving directly after the divorce can also trigger some less appealing side effects, especially where the children are concerned. 

Before you commit to moving after your divorce, here are some things to think about: 

  • Your child may experience negative emotional effects. Children of all ages are highly sensitive to change and react strongly to the loss of their routine, especially where family and home structure are concerned. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports a number of possible negative psychological effects on children when their parent moves them a fair distance from the other parent following divorce. These statistics suggest that some children experience greater challenges with their interpersonal relationships, including an increase in hostility, and that they tend to suffer more overall distress. Further findings indicate children who are forced to move may also view their parents in a less favorable light or start to feel they cannot depend on their parents as role models or sources of emotional support. Such children also tend to experience more problems with their physical and mental health over time.

  • Addressing the issue when drafting a parenting plan can provide a platform for a productive, civil discussion about the subject. When children are involved in a divorce, a parenting plan is a big part of establishing the groundwork for how you and your spouse will raise them once the divorce is final. When the time comes to draft the plan, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss the matter of relocation. Talk about your concerns, personal preferences, potential points of compromise, and non-negotiable boundaries. Then take the information and consult with your attorney to make sure you are taking any applicable laws into account, such as the 25-mile or 50-mile rule.

  • Therapy may help. As children thrive on routine and tend to handle transitions better when they are informed of impending changes to their existing structure, it helps to prepare them as much as possible for any relocation plans that will follow the divorce. Before you spring the news on the family, consider working with a therapist during the time leading up to the separation and during the months that follow. A mental health professional can help provide insight and guidance as you talk to your children about the move, and may be able to help them cope with the transition as they process the news.

Contact a St. Charles Family Lawyer

The decision to move directly after divorce is never an easy one to make, but only you know what is best for your family. If you are concerned about your rights and the rights of your children as you make plans to relocate, you can benefit from speaking with a knowledgeable Kane County family law attorney who can advise you on the legal implications of your moving plans. Call 630-584-4800 for a free consultation at Goostree Law Group today.  

 

Sources:

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2003/06/relocation.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Building-Resilience/Pages/How-to-Talk-to-Your-Children-about-Divorce.aspx

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

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