What It Takes to Defeat a Relocation Case
by Wes Cowell; updated 15 May 2015 -- suggest a correction
When the other parent tells you that he or she is planning on moving beyond the radius limits of the law -- or out-of-state -- and taking the kids, the very first thing to do is call an attorney. You'll first want to seek an injunciton under 750 ILCS 5/501(a)(2)(ii) and 750 ILCS 5/609.
If the parent has already moved and notifies you after the fact, you need to REALLY get going. It is possible to force the other parent to return the child to Illinois. Most courts will give the parent up to 72 hours to get the child back.
Notwithstanding recent changes in the ways courts analyze removal cases, the foundation for opposing any removal action goes back to the days of Eckert. Again, work with an experienced, skilled attorney to prepare your opposition. Successful oppositions include at least one of the four Eckert factors: (1) the move will not enhance the general quality of life for either the custodial parent or the children; (2) your motives in resisting the removal are based not in attempting to thwart your former spouse's efforts at a new life, but merely in your love for your child and your attempt to secure your child's best interests (consider, for example, the strategic difference between the argument that you won't see your child as much, as opposed to the more powerful argument that your child won't see you as much); (3) that it is in the best interest of the child to have a healthy and close relationship with both parents and therefore the visitation rights of the child to spend substantial time with you should be carefully considered; and (4) that no matter how convenient, frequent, or robust, any visitation schedule that requires the child to travel significant distances merely to have contact with the other parent imposes an unreasonable burden on the child. Additionally, your opposition case may examine the motives of the custodial parent in seeking the relocation to determine whether the removal is merely a ruse intended to defeat or frustrate visitation – obviously, this last element will depend on the facts and history of your case.
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