Parents who are subject to a child custody order often face a number of challenges related to building a better life for themselves and their children. For some, opportunities may arise outside of Illinois, and custodial parents may seek to leave the state with their child in pursuit of a new job or a more preferable living situation. Removing a child from Illinois, however, can be complicated under a custody arrangement and must be first approved by the court. If your child’s custodial parent is looking to move out of state with your child, you have the right to oppose the move and a qualified family law attorney can help.
Child Removal Action
As a parent with joint custody or a visitation arrangement regarding your child, you have the right and responsibility of maintaining a healthy relationship with him or her. For this reason, the primary residential parent must seek your permission to move with the child before doing so. If you consent, the court will enter an amended custody or visitation order, formalizing the agreement. If you refuse to consent, the other parent may still pursue an out-of-state move, but must first convince the court that such a move is in the child’s best interest.
Protecting Your Rights
When petitioning the court for child removal, the parent seeking the move bears the burden of proof. He or she must show that the move will ultimately promote the well-being of the child. This generally includes improved financial circumstances, healthier living environment, better school systems, and, very importantly, a continued functioning relationship with the non-custodial parent. While the petitioning parent is required to prove his or her case, you should be prepared to properly defend your position as well.
To prevent your child from moving out of state, be ready to demonstrate:
- The nature and extent of your involvement in your child’s life and that the nurturing environment that you have established with your child would be adversely affected by the move;
- Similar economic or social improvements are available within the state or in the current community;
- A realistic and reasonable schedule for visitation would not be possible after the proposed move;
- The custodial parent’s request to move is not in good faith, but instead a tactic for keeping your child from you; and/or
- Your motives in opposing the move are in good faith and are truly based on providing the best opportunities for your child.
Contesting a child removal request can be extremely stressful and challenging. Fortunately, the experienced Illinois child custody attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C., are equipped to help you. Contact our office today for a free initial consultation. We will review your case, answer your questions, and help you understand the options available to you in protecting your parental rights.