One of the challenges for divorced parents is how to handle custody and visitation arrangements when one parent moves out of state. We are not talking about parents who kidnap their children or relocate out of spite. This is a situation that can come up even in the most amicable of divorces. A parent or a new spouse is transferred for work or has family obligations that require moving.
In those cases, Illinois state law requires the parents to amend the child custody agreement. The petition must be approved by the court, and the court must weigh the evidence using the best interests of the child guidelines. It is up to the parent who wants to move to prove that the child is best served by the relocation.
The heart of the issue, of course, is separating children from their other parent. There are many other factors to consider -- schools, general living conditions, other social connections in the area, more opportunity for the children to thrive. Still, the parties arguing for and against the move are the parents, and there's a good chance they are arguing to protect their relationship with their chld.
A case from outside of Illinois puts an interesting twist on the matter. In that case, the ex-wife of professional basketball player Steve Nash wants to move herseslf and the couple's three children from their current home to the state Nash lives in. She says the reason is to be closer to Nash.
But when the couple appeared in court recently for a hearing about the petition, Nash suggested her motives were not so pure.
We'll get into more detail in our next post.
Sources: USA Today, "Steve Nash fights to keep ex-wife from moving to Calif.," Craig Harris, May 30, 2013
Huffington Post, "Steve Nash's Divorce Court Battle With Ex-Wife Heads Up," May 30, 2013