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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: 

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County child relocation lawyerSometimes, life changes unexpectedly. A new job, new relationship, or death in the family may necessitate a move, but relocating your family is almost never easy. Moving with your child can be especially difficult during or in the wake of a divorce, as Illinois law places restrictions on relocating with children. In many cases, one parent’s desire to move must be balanced with the other parent’s right to parenting time and their children’s interests in staying where they are comfortable.

Illinois Child Relocation Laws

Before 2016, Illinois law held that a single or divorced parent could uproot their children for any destination within the state, but if they chose to leave the state even by a very small distance, permission from either the other spouse or the family court was required. With the revamping of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) in 2016, a new approach was adopted for parents who have at least half of the parenting time with their children.

Under the current law, a parent living in Kane County, Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, McHenry County, or Will County can move with their child to a new residence within Illinois, up to 25 miles from the original home, without the consent of the other parent or the family court. If a parent resides with their child outside of those counties, the allowable distance is increased to 50 miles, simply because the middle and southern counties in the state of Illinois are larger and less dense than the six counties immediately surrounding Chicago. If a parent wants to move outside the state of Illinois, they are still allowed to do so within a distance of 25 miles without seeking permission. However, it is important to remember that within that distance, Illinois remains the home state of the child for purposes of disputes over parental responsibilities. 

Posted on in Child Custody

Same-Sex Divorces Have Little Precedent for Child CustodyWith the legalization of same-sex marriage also came the need for same-sex divorce. Many aspects of divorce law are used equally in heterosexual and homosexual divorces. However, same-sex divorce is new territory, and decisions in cases often set new legal precedents.

Child custody (or the "allocation of parental responsibilities") is one of the trickiest parts of same-sex divorce because the process of having a child is more complicated than in a heterosexual relationship. Only one parent can claim biological rights to the child. With adopted children, the legal process of the adoption becomes important in determining parental rights. There are no laws specifically addressing same-sex divorce and custody. More general laws and court decisions are the best determiners of how a case will play out.

Biological Parent

How to Communicate With Your Toddler About DivorceGetting divorced is an emotionally trying time for parents and their children, but being the divorced parents of a toddler brings unique challenges. While older children may feel guilty over the divorce, toddlers are at a developmental stage when they are too young to understand what a divorce is. However, they do know that their world has been disrupted because their parents are no longer together.

Because toddlers do not have the communication skills to explain their feelings, they are more likely to have behavioral reactions, including:

  • Tantrums
  • Sleep trouble
  • Increased separation anxiety
  • Behavioral regression, such as thumb sucking

While these behaviors can lead to developmental setbacks, research has shown toddlers of divorced parents can still develop normally if their parents properly communicate with them. 

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County family law attorneysDivorced and unmarried parents often face a number of important decisions when determining how to structure parenting arrangements for their children. You may be aware that recent changes to the law in Illinois have increased focus on cooperative parenting agreements and joint parenting plans. While cooperative parenting is great in theory, the reality is often much different. In many cases, it may still be appropriate for one parent to pursue sole responsibility for important decision-making, the amended version of what was once called sole custody.

New Terminology, Similar Responsibilities

For many years, the state of Illinois recognized two distinct types of arrangement for child custody: sole custody and joint custody. Each referred to the concept of legal custody, meaning the authority to make decisions regarding a child’s life and upbringing. A parent with sole custody was responsible for making all important decisions, while parents with joint custody would need to make such decisions together.

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