Mother and Father divorce. Mother is granted sole custody of their minor daughter. Father is awarded parenting time. Two evenings during the week, every other weekend, and alternate holidays.

Mother filed a petition to remove the child to the State of Virginia. She had been offered a job with the U.S. State Department. This job would require Mother to live overseas 2/3 of her job assignments. She would live 1/3 of the time in the Washington, D.C. area.

Some of the overseas assignments would be in unsafe overseas areas. The child would remain in the U.S. The State Department would provide a maintenance allowance for the care of dependents.

Each assignment would last 2 or 3 years. Mother’s income would grow to $60,000.00 per year. She had been earning $34,000.00 as a local newspaper editor.

Father would not agree to allow their child to accompany Mother to an overseas post. Perhaps the child would live with Father. He would then receive the maintenance allowance.

Father’s visitation would be 10 weeks during the summer months. The child would have a computer. She could stay in contact with her Father by email and webcam.

The trial court granted Mother’s request. The court found that it was in the child’s best interest. The court acknowledged the effect on the father’s visitation. Father appealed.

The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court. It was a split decision. The dissenting opinion appears to better meet the standards set down in IRMO Eckert. The Eckert case states the factors to be considered in a removal case.

Mother did not prove that the schools to be attended by child were better wherever Mother was stationed. There was no evidence of what Mother’s living expenses would be. Nothing about the child’s cultural opportunities. This would have a great effect on Father’s relationship with his daughter during her formative years.

IRMO Coulter, 2012 IL App (3rd) 100973

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