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A request or petition to modify a decree can be challenged or opposed. When a petition to modify or a motion to modify is filed, it is almost always opposed. For example, the other party could say, “No, that’s not the complete picture. Let me give you more information.” Or, “Yes, his income went up 10%, but I shouldn’t have less child support because he’s making more money.” You can always challenge a motion or petition. When it’s presented, the judge gives you the right to file a response. The response usually opposes the initial petition. The petitioner then gets to file a reply, and there’s a hearing. At the hearing, both sides argue their side. One side will argue that there should be a modification while the other will argue that there shouldn’t be a modification.

If somebody files a petition to modify, and the parties are in agreement at the initial presentation, they can enter an agreed order. The agreed order stops the process so that there doesn’t have to be a response or hearing. However, in almost all cases where someone files a motion to modify, the other side challenges that motion by responding and giving a different perspective. Ultimately, the judge makes a decision on which perspective to follow.

What Happens If One Parent Wants Or Needs To Relocate With The Child Or Children In Illinois?

In Illinois, our law requires the government’s permission to move more than 25 miles from the child’s home at the time of judgment. Our relocation statute is strict. It is very difficult to get authorization to relocate. We used to have a relocation statute that said that the parent who wanted to relocate needed to show that it was in their best interest to relocate. It took into consideration the best interest of the child, but the issue was whether it was in the best interest of the parent trying to relocate. Now, you have to show that the relocation is in the best interest of the child. If a parent is getting a better job, that’s very hard to show that it is in the best interest of the child. There is a presupposition in Illinois that indicates that having two parents is what is ultimately best for a child. Therefore, a mom having a new job that pays more out of state doesn’t win. A Mom who has a fiancé in another state doesn’t win because it’s not in the child’s best interest to have their parents in two different locations. And so, we tell clients that relocation is a very steep uphill battle.

How Does The Court Decide Whether To Allow A Parent To Relocate With A Child?

There are 15 items that the court looks at to determine whether to allow a parent to relocate with a child. The 15 items are taken into consideration to determine whether it is in the child’s best interest to move. The 15 items relate to the schools in each location, the parent’s job situation in each location, whether there’s extended family in each location, and the amount that each parent is involved in the child’s life. If one parent never sees the child or doesn’t have any visitation with the child, that would work in the other parent’s favor.

Furthermore, there’s a balancing act. They go through the list of all the things that are to be considered in a relocation case. They do a balancing of multiple factors to determine which location is in the child’s best interest.

If I Have Custody Or Visitation Rights And Want To Move Out Of Illinois With My Children, What Should I Do?

You must have the majority of parenting time to be able to petition for relocation If you want to move out of Illinois or even more than 25 miles away with your child, the first step is to contact the child’s other parent and see if you can agree on it. That is the best choice. In order to file a motion to relocate, you must be the primary parent with the majority of the parenting time. Otherwise, you don’t even qualify. If you have custody and want to move out of Illinois, you must give your spouse written notice and then you need to talk to your ex-spouse and say, “This is the situation. This is why I want to move. These are the benefits. This is what I will give you in return. If you let me move, I will give you more time in the summer. I’ll give you more four-day holidays. I will make sure you have more time at Christmas break. I’ll make sure that when the children don’t have school, you get more time with them.” Therefore, it’s a negotiation.

If you treat it as a negotiation and give the other party things that they want, there may be an agreement to relocate, which would be the very best possible way to handle it. If the ex says, “No,” then the first step is to file a petition to relocate. Once you file the petition to relocate, it lays out the considerations and factors for relocation. It must detail why relocating is in the best interest of the child based on each of the factors. You literally have to go through every single factor and give the court all of the information you have on each of those factors that makes it clear that relocating is in the child’s best interest. Once the petition is filed, it is presented to the court. The other side gets a chance to respond and a court hearing will be scheduled.

In addition to the court hearing, the court often appoints a guardian ad litem on behalf of the child. The guardian ad litem is an attorney who represents the child. They investigate whether the relocation is in the child’s best interest. It makes the process longer and more expensive. As a result, most relocations take six to eight months to work their way through the judicial system. If you’re trying to relocate quickly, that makes it very difficult.

For more information on Modifications in Divorce Cases in Illinois, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (847) 234-4445 today.

Attorney Michone Riewer

Attorney Michone RiewerTM is a seasoned lawyer based in Lake Bluff, IL, focusing on Family Law. She brings a wealth of experience to matters of divorce, child custody, alimony, and beyond, aiming to provide clients like you with the insight you need to protect your family and move through the legal world with ease.

Connect with her firm, Strategic DivorceTM, to stay updated on the latest developments in Family Law and get in touch with an advocate who’s committed to helping you navigate the legal landscape in Illinois.

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