Little boy with suitcaseThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing the rights of Peoria, Illinois fathers in cases involving a request to relocate their child out of the state. My previous article focused on the factors courts will review when determining whether or not to grant a relocation request. As discussed in that post, there are various reasonable justifications underlying motions to relocate a child. There are also equally rational reasons to oppose such a request. As a result, requests to move with a child are highly contentious. Before presenting a motion to the court, a parent should be prepared to present as much evidence as possible in support of the request. This post will address more specifically the steps that a parent should take prior to initiating the relocation proceeding. If you need assistance with a custody matter, contact my office to speak with an attorney.

As previously discussed, an Illinois court will carefully weigh the decision to grant a parent’s motion to relocate a child outside of the state. It is important to note that courts are reluctant to grant such a request simply because a parent wishes to move. Seeking permission to move to an unspecified location for unspecified reasons will not likely be successful. Prior to making such a request, therefore, it is imperative to prepare a plan with as much detail as possible about the move to present to the court with your motion. A judge will be interested in the motive behind the relocation and how the move will benefit the child. If possible, the parent should be prepared to present information about new living arrangements, school systems, employment details, and other circumstances justifying the motion. In addition, it is important to outline a proposed, realistic, visitation schedule with the other parent that will ensure they have adequate means of maintaining a relationship with the child.

For example, if a parent receives a job offer in a competitive field outside of Illinois, that parent should provide details about the offer and the reasons for which they wish to accept it. The requesting party should attempt to demonstrate how the new opportunity represents an improvement over current employment, either by wages or otherwise. Identifying the specific location, timing of the move, possible (or concrete) living arrangements, and the school that the child will attend will be important. New or improved educational, cultural or extracurricular opportunities may be considered. The plan should also include plans for visitation with the other parent, such as school breaks, holidays, summer visits, etc. Compare this with a situation in which a parent believes there may be more opportunities for employment on the west coast, with no specific job offer, location, school system, or other specific information supporting the request. For obvious reasons, the more detailed the plan, the higher likelihood of approval.

Whether you are considering moving outside of Illinois with a child or seeking to stop your co-parent from doing so, an experienced custody attorney can help you navigate the process. If you need assistance with a relocation or custody matter, contact my office today to speak with a Peoria fathers’ rights lawyer. My office also represents clients in Bloomington, Decatur, Eureka, Galesburg, Morton, Normal, Pekin, Springfield, and Washington. We also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.