In deciding whether to allow judicial removal of a child from Illinois, the Courts' central focus is the "best interest of the minor child." In evaluating the "best interests," Courts review several factors that will be outlined below. The burden of proof is placed upon the party seeking removal.
When can the petition for removal be raised?
The petition can be filed & heard either during the course of divorce proceedings, or subsequent to the entry of the Judgment of Divorce.
Who can petition for removal of a child outside the state of Illinois?
The right to petition for removal belongs to the party who has been granted legal custody. Therefore, if the removal was sought by the non-custodial parent, he or she would first have to secure a change in custody.
According to the Illinois Supreme Court, what are the central factors to consider in a removal case?
The Illinois Supreme Court has identified the following specific factors as most central to a removal case:
(1) the likelihood that the move will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial parent and the children;
(2) the motives of the custodial parent in seeking to move to determine whether the removal is merely a ruse intended to defeat or frustrate visitation;
(3) the motives of the noncustodial parent in resisting the removal;
(4) 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 noncustodial parent should be carefully considered and
(5) whether a realistic and reasonable visitation schedule can be reached if the move is allowed.
As noted, the party seeking removal will shoulder the burden of proof with respect to the above factors.