Judge on the benchThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing child relocation requests when a parent seeks to move a child outside of Illinois to accept new employment. My previous article focused on the importance of presenting a detailed relocation plan to the court in support of such a request. Even when the purpose of the move is for employment reasons, the requesting parent must demonstrate to the court that the move will be in the child’s best interest. A developed relocation plan can help support this claim. In this article, I will discuss how an Illinois father may challenge a mother’s request to move their child out of state. If you need assistance with a child custody issue, contact my office today to speak with a Peoria fathers’ rights lawyer.

When a father learns that their co-parent wants to relocate with their child, they may not know how to proceed. Particularly when the request is related to an immediate need for reemployment, the expedited timeline can be devastating. It is possible, however, to challenge a mother’s request for relocation. As with other custody-related decisions, the court’s ultimate decision will hinge on whether the move will be in the best interest of the child. One challenging a move-away request must present as much evidence as possible that this is not true. The court will be interested in a number of factors, including the impact the move may have on the father’s ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child if the move is permitted. Using specific evidence to challenge mom’s proposed relocation plan will also be important. For instance, statistics showing the new school system is comparatively worse than the child’s existing school or that the planned living arrangements are unsatisfactory will be relevant to the court’s evaluation.

Consider the following example. The child’s mother files a Motion Requesting Relocation citing new employment as the primary justification. At the time of the preliminary hearing, however, she has not yet secured a new job. She proposes to move to Florida, citing warmer weather and better job opportunities. A father wishing to challenge her request may challenge the fact that the relocation plan is too uncertain, and the distance would preclude any meaningful visitation opportunities. He could also demonstrate that the father’s home, school enrollment, and existing support system create a better environment for the child. If the mother had identified a specific job, citing an increase in pay, a school system ranked in the top tier, and a plan to fly the child home on a regular basis for visitation, it may be more difficult to challenge the request. Every family and relocation request is different. How the court will rule in any given case will be based on the specific facts of each case. An experienced attorney can review your case and provide guidance throughout the entire process.

When a co-parent’s desire to relocate negatively impacts a father’s relationship with their child, it is important to vigorously defend one’s parental rights. My office has experience handling child custody issues of all kinds, including challenging relocation requests. If you need assistance with a child relocation issue, contact my office to speak with a Peoria fathers’ rights attorney.  In addition to Peoria, I serve clients in the cities of Bloomington, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. I also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.