I will be lecturing at the Lake County Bar Association Family Law Conference in March, speaking on the topic of removal. The position I will be advocating is for the Courts in the State of Illinois to consider the factors that are required in a removal case to be applied in intrastate cases or in cases where one party to a divorce chooses to move to a remote location within the State.
My argument is based upon the reasoning behind the removal analysis in the first place, which is an acknowledgement that when two parents are physically separated by a great distance that necessarily impacts upon the parenting schedule and the accessibility of the non-custodial parent to the child and his or her activities, education, medical care and other aspects of his or her life.
My position is not designed to restrict ones right to move within the State of Illinois, but rather to encourage the Courts to consider why the parent is moving within the State, what type of schedule can be created depending on where he or she moves, and other factors that the Court would consider if one of the parents were moving out of State, all as part of a global analysis to determine what custodial arrangement is in the best interest of children.
Under the current laws of the State of Illinois, there is a different analysis that would be applied in a case where, for example, a party living in northern Illinois is moving 15 minutes north to live over the border in Wisconsin, in say Kenosha, than if a parent moved from that same northern suburb of Illinois to Springfield, Illinois. Ultimately, the decision will be made by the Judge as to what weight to put on this evidence and what is in the best interest of the child, but don’t children deserve to at least have the Courts consider the impact that a parent moving a considerable distance within the State might have upon his or her relationship with his or her other parent?