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Illinois Court Rejects Father's Relocation Petition

Posted on in Relocation

Illinois Court Rejects Father's Relocation PetitionA co-parent who wishes to relocate with his or her children bears the burden of proving why the move is in the best interest of the children. There can be several reasons why children may benefit from relocating, such as:

  • Better education;
  • A more diverse community;
  • Proximity to family members;
  • A higher standard of living; and
  • Employment opportunities for the primary parent.

However, the court must also consider how the relocation would affect the other parent’s rights. Regularly visiting each parent is often of the greatest benefit to the children. A court may reject a relocation petition if it is unconvinced that the children will be in a clearly better living situation than they are currently.

Recent Example

In the case of In re Marriage of Fatkin, a divorced father asked to relocate his two children from Illinois to Virginia. The father, who had a greater share of the parenting time, had not found full-time employment where he was living and wished to move into his parent’s home in Virginia Beach, where he grew up and had a job waiting for him. He cited several ways that his children would benefit from the move:

  • He claimed that the schools and extracurricular activities were far superior in Virginia Beach than in the smaller Illinois community where they lived;
  • The new community is likely to be more tolerant, whereas his son had experienced bullying based on his religion in his current community; and
  • The children would see their grandparents more frequently, as they would be the primary caregivers when the father is working.

The trial court granted the relocation petition and changed the parenting agreement so that the father would have the children during the school year and the mother would have the children during the summer and select holidays.

Change of Plans

An Illinois appellate court reversed the trial court’s ruling, stating that granting the relocation was clearly not in the best interest of the children. Besides the fact that the children would be moving away from their mother, the court said:

  • The father did not present qualitative evidence of better schools in the new community;
  • The children had not seen the grandparents in several years, suggesting that they are not close;
  • The children would be leaving their long-time friends and the community they had always lived in; and
  • The grandparents could be limited as caregivers because the grandmother is waiting on a kidney transplant and the grandfather has returned to work.

Contact a Naperville Family Law Attorney

Family courts decide each child relocation petition based on the unique circumstances of the case. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can help you argue for or against a petition to relocate your children. To schedule a consultation, call 630-393-3111.


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