Mom and Dad had a child, Ava. About a year later, mom later filed a Petition for Paternity and a Petition to Remove Ava from the State of Illinois. She wanted to move to Colorado. She was engaged to be married to a man who lived in Colorado.

Dad wanted joint custody. He had been very attached to and very involved with Ava. But, the court did not agree that joint custody would work. Dad was very upset that mom would not get back together with him. Joint custody meant that they would have to make decisions together for Ava. That did not seem like it would happen. The court granted mom sole custody.

Dad did not want mom to leave Illinois with Ava. The court granted mom the right to leave Illinois with Ava. She intended to be a stay-at-home mom in Colorado. That would be good for Ava. Dad appealed the sole custody and the removal issues.

The Appellate Court agreed that it was not in Ava’s best interest for the parents to have joint custody. They could not be expected to agree on what was in Ava’s best interest.

The Appellate Court did not agree that mom should be able to move from Illinois with Ava. Ava had an interest in maintaining contact with both parents. Dad had diligently exercised his visitation rights. He had always been absolutely involved in Ava’s life.

Now Ava was three years old. Father’s extended family lived in Illinois. His family was very involved with Ava. Mom and her new husband did not even live together in one household in Colorado yet.

The Appellate Court also said that the mom’s being a stay-at-home mom was not an improvement for the child. In Illinois, Ava saw both of her parents on a regular basis. She was in daycare with her grandmother twice per week.

Under the removal plan mom had, dad would have 13 full weeks with Ava. But, he only has 15 days of vacation time. So, Ava would still be in daycare for at least 10 weeks of the year.

Mom had been in three serious relationships in the past six years. She married her new husband after knowing him for 10 months. This was during the pendency of the paternity case. And, before she even knew if removal would be approved.

Shinall v. Carter, 2012 Ill.App.3d 110302

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