A recent Illinois Supreme Court Ruling Gives Hope to a Divorced Parent in Illinois Wishing to Move

A recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling gives hope to a divorced parent in Illinois wishing to move

Relocation (formerly removal) by a parent who has the majority of parenting time with his or her children is governed by 750 ILCS 5/609.2. Relocation, after the 2016 amendments to this provision, includes not just moving out of state but also focuses on a move away from the children’s current primary residence, which move could be within or outside the State of Illinois with his or her children.

The Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled a father could permanently relocate with his children (2) from Galesburg, Illinois to Virginia Beach, Virginia in the case In re MARRIAGE OF FATKIN found at 2019 IL 123602 (2019). In IRMO Fatkin, the father had been awarded primary physical custody of his 2 children in July of 2015. In 2017, he wanted to move from Galesburg, Illinois (where the children and parents lived since 2008) to Virginia Beach, Virginia where he and the children would live with his parents. The mother, who lived 2 miles from the father in Galesburg, objected to the relocation, so the case went to hearing.

The trial court, appellate court and Supreme Court all considered various factors in evaluating the request by the father to relocate with the children. Among those factors were how much parenting time the mother exercised, the parent’s respective job situations, the children’s extracurricular activities, the children’s general quality of life, the standard of living the children enjoyed, educational and other opportunities available to the children, the wishes of a child and overall what was in the best interest of the children.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court agreed with the father and granted his request for relocation. The trial court modified the mother’s parenting time schedule since she would not be seeing the children much during the school year due to the distance apart. The trial court’s ruling provided for the children to live with their father in Virginia during the school year and with the mother in Illinois over the summer and alternating holiday breaks.

The mother appealed, and the appellate court reversed the trial court’s decision (effectively agreeing with the mother and denying the father’s request for relocation) and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings. The father then appealed the matter to the Illinois Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reversed the appellate court ruling and affirmed the judgment of the trial court, which ultimately resulted in the father being allowed to move to Virginia Beach, Virginia with the children.

The court decisions in the area of relocation are varied, inconsistent and decided not using any bright-line test. If you are the parent with the majority of parenting time and considering a move within or outside Illinois, it is critical you get sound legal advice.

Take advantage of the experience we have with this issue and call Nicholas J. Galasso now at 630-949-2061 or access our website at www.GalassoPC.com and schedule a free consultation.