What is the Child Relocation Law
There are often situations where a family law case is still pending and one parent needs to or wishes to move with the minor children. As of 2021, the Child Relocation Law in Illinois indicated that you must seek approval from the court for relocation, if you wish to move more than 25 miles away from the current residence with the minor children. In addition, the statute specifically indicates that “a parent who has been allocated majority or equal parenting time, may seek to relocate with a child.” Interpretation of this statute had led to the conclusion that until a parenting time schedule is in place, a parent cannot seek relocation, as it is unknown if that parent had majority or equal parenting time.
Many judges in Illinois interpreted the child relocation law to mean that there must be a final order on parenting time and not simply a temporary order. This created the unfavorable outcome that a parent cannot petition to relocate a minor child more than 25 miles away during the entire pendency of the case. This created a problematic hardship to parents in a variety of scenarios. Including obtaining a new job or needing to move closer to family to assist in childcare or other expenses. The move isn’t always across state lines, or significantly far away. However, the way the current child relocation statute was drafted, it is possible, and even likely, that a Judge would deny a parent any such relief until the case has a final order.
New Language and Clarification
Effective January 1, 2022, PA 102-0145 now permits a court to order the relocation of a child on a temporary basis before a final allocation judgment or parenting time order is entered. Specifically, section (a-5) has been added to section 750 ILCS 603.5 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. This addition indicates, in part: “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 interest 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 judgment.”
How can this affect You
This change clarifies the Court’s abilities when it comes to temporary child relocation. Parties in a family law case can petition for temporary relocation and/or file relocation notices on a temporary basis without the fear of denial simply because the final judgment has not yet been entered. It is also important to notice that the new section specifically indicates that the relocation shall not prejudice either parent in the final decision of allocation of parental responsibilities. This means that a temporary relocation will not necessarily effect a final parenting time award, which is often one of the initial reasons a non-relocating parent will object to the relocation of their minor child.
Contact the Attorneys at Allison and Mosby-Scott to discuss how this new clarification can work for you.