Allocation of parental rights and responsibilities in Illinois carries the authority of the family courts once an order has been handed down. Parents must abide by the parenting plan that they negotiated with one another or litigated unless they formalize an agreed-upon adjustment of the plan or the court approves a contested modification request. Otherwise, deviation from a parenting plan could lead to enforcement actions.
Of course, as people begin to rebuild their lives after divorce or a separation, their daily lives will inevitably undergo noteworthy changes. Someone might have a job offer in Michigan or family in Ohio and may want to leave Illinois. However, if they are subject to a parenting plan, they may worry about whether they can actually relocate as they wish.
Approval is required ahead of time
Technically, the Illinois family courts won’t prevent someone from accepting a job or pursuing a relationship elsewhere. However, a judge may revisit a parenting plan to change the allocation of parenting time based on whether the adults prioritize the best interests of the children.
If one parent wants to leave the state with the children or otherwise move far enough away to affect the other parent’s access, they would need either the consent of the other parents or a convincing argument that would lead a judge to agree that the move would be in the best interests of the children.
Judges may potentially alter the division of parenting time to permit a move or may drastically reduce one parent’s time with the children to allow them to move without interfering in the relationship the other parent has with the children.
Cooperation takes the guesswork out of modifications
Any attempt to revise an existing parenting plan in Illinois will require the review of a family law judge. When spouses agree to make certain changes, they can request uncontested modifications that take much of the guesswork out of the process.
However, if parents disagree about whether the move would benefit the children or not, it may be necessary to have a judge make that decision for the family. Understanding the limitations placed on parental relocations when adults share responsibilities for minor children in Illinois can help those who are moving on after the end of a relationship choose an informed path forward.