Illinois lawmakers sometimes add and rewrite the divorce and child custody laws included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to keep up with recent times or to close loopholes that can be exploited. Recently, the law pertaining to requesting child relocation during divorce proceedings was rewritten to make clear to judges how to decide to deny or approve this request. This law became effective on January 1, 2022.
Child relocation during divorce proceedings
Parents who are going through divorce proceedings may need to relocate with their minor children more than 25 miles away. Maybe they need to relocate for a new job, for business reasons or to take care of ailing parents. Regardless of the reason, before 2022 the law was open to misinterpretation, and often the parent requesting the relocation was denied their request until after the proceedings were resolved.
The two issues that were often misinterpreted when allowing or disallowing relocation were:
- Parenting time schedules
- Whether the parenting time order was temporary or permanent when granting a relocation request
Parenting time schedules
One of the issues that divorce proceedings often resolve is how much time each parent will have with their children. Will one parent be allocated the majority of the parenting time or will there be equal parenting time for both parties? Divorce proceedings resolve this question by putting in place a parenting time schedule in a final custody order.
When a parent requests relocation with minor children during the divorce proceedings, the parenting time schedule is usually resolved at a later time. Prior to this revision of the law, that meant judges would often deny the relocation request based on their interpretation that there has to be a parenting time schedule in place before the parent can seek relocation.
The other issue was that judges interpreted the granting of the relocation request as a permanent and final order for parenting time and not a temporary order to be adjusted for the final custody order.
How the rewritten law resolves this dilemma
Section (a-5) was added to 750 ILCS 603.5 to make it clear that the court can grant relocation of minor children temporarily before the final order of allocation if the relocation is in the best interest of the children. This section also makes clear that neither parent should be prejudiced against when ordering the permanent and final allocation judgment because one parent was allowed to relocate the children before the final order was drafted.