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Perfect Solutions Rarely Exist in Child Relocation Disputes

Posted on in Child Custody

Perfect Solutions Rarely Exist in Child Relocation DisputesThe decision of whether to allow one parent to relocate with his or her child is often difficult because there are valid arguments for both permitting and denying the petition. The petitioning parent may have an opportunity for a better quality of life, but the responding parent will also have a reduced relationship with his or her child. The decision comes down to whether the relocation will be better for the child. During a recent Illinois case, In re Marriage of Kavchak, a court approved a mother’s petition to relocate with her daughter to North Carolina, even though it would significantly limit the father’s ability to see the daughter.

Mother’s Argument

The mother is a physical therapist who has worked in higher education. Shortly before her divorce, she received an offer for a better-paying job at a university in North Carolina that would also pay for her study towards a doctorate. She accepted the job during the divorce and later filed a relocation petition to allow her daughter to move with her. Her reasons included:

  • She would not be able to obtain the same opportunity in Illinois;
  • Staying in Illinois would require her to seek a job with overnight hours, which would limit her parenting time flexibility;
  • The new job would give her more time with her daughter because of the flexible hours and shorter commute;
  • Her mother would live with them in North Carolina and provide childcare when she is not available;
  • There is a private school in North Carolina that could provide an equal, if not better, education for the daughter; and
  • She would offer an extra room in her home for the father to stay in during visits.

Father’s Argument

The father has a long-established career in Illinois that allows him to adjust his hours to accommodate his parental responsibilities. The father describes himself as having an active and close relationship with the daughter. He argued that the relocation would not be in his daughter’s best interest because:

  • It would reduce his parenting time with her;
  • A greater portion of his parenting time would be spent on traveling or with a childcare provider while he works;
  • He would not be comfortable staying at his former wife’s house during visits, and visits in a hotel room will be less intimate; and
  • The cultural opportunities in North Carolina are less than those in the Chicago area.

Court’s Decision

Though it sided with the mother, the court stated that the decision was a close call. It ruled that the benefits that the daughter would receive from the relocation outweigh the harm done by moving away from her father.

There is often no perfect solution when deciding whether to allow parental relocation with a child. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you either file or contest a relocation petition. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-584-4800.


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