Divorce LawyerA whole range of new divorce laws are on the books for 2016, and the changes affecting parental responsibilities are some of the biggest. One of these involves relocating children, and there are a number of crucial steps that divorced parents need to take before moving.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that “a parent’s relocation constitutes a significant change in circumstances.” This significant change requires advance planning and notification.  A parent that decides it is time to move the family must give sixty days’ notification for moves outside of a certain zone. There are three of these zones.

Three Separate Zones Defined

The most restrictive limits on family relocation affect parents in one of the six following counties:

  • Cook
  • DePage
  • Kane
  • Lake
  • McHenry, and
  • Will County.

If a parent with a majority of parenting time wishes to move more than 25 miles in or around one of these counties, they must give sixty days’ written notice to the other parent, and file this with the court. If the other parent agrees to the move, there is no further action needed. If they do not agree, the court must become involved to resolve the dispute, along with local divorce lawyers.

For nearly everyone living outside of these six counties, the relocation zone expands to fifty miles. The procedure remains the same, but for parents in rural Illinois, this gives a larger zone to work within, even if it is much more restrictive than the previous divorce law. Until 2016, there was no need to give notification of a move if it was in-state.

One group that has been given a little more freedom of movement are those that live along the state’s borders. They now have a 25-mile zone that would allow them to move outside of the state without this being considered an out-of-state relocation. Previously it would have been.

Resolving Disputes

When the non-relocating parent objects to a move, the courts now have a ten-point checklist to decide if the move is allowable. To summarize these points, they all rely on what is in the child’s best interests. Along with other portions of the law, this is one section that greatly enhances children’s rights after divorce. Although the process is now more complicated, the entire purpose aims to improve opportunities for children of divorce.