Effective January 1, 2016, there has been a change in the prior law pertaining to moving a child from his/her current residence to another. Now, a parent needs either a court order or the written consent of the other parent under the following circumstances:
- If the child’s current primary residence is located in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will County, to a new residence, within Illinois, that is more than 25 miles from the child’s current residence.
- In any other county in Illinois, if the move is more than 50 miles from the child’s current residence.
- If the change is from the current primary residence to a residence outside the borders of Illinois, which is more than 25 miles.
This change in the law presents many questions, including: who measures the miles? Which parent does it apply to if the parents have been allocated equal parenting time? What if the move is within 24 miles but adds one hour of additional commuting for the other parent? Another significant change in the new law is that “relocation” can now be a reason for a change in custody.
The new law eliminates the requirement that a child must be at least 12 years old and the parent and step parent were married for at least five (5) years. Now four (4) conditions must be met:
(a) The parent having the majority of parenting time is deceased or is disabled and cannot perform the duties of a parent to the child;
(b) The step parent provided for the care, control, and welfare of the child prior to the initiation of proceedings for allocation of parental responsibilities;
(c) The child wishes to live with the step parent; and
(d) It is alleged to be in the best interest and welfare of the child to live with the step parent.