Mother relocated the child to Champaign, Illinois. This was after Father started court proceedings in Cook County.  Mother did not give written notice to Father. This is a requirement of the law. She did not petition the court. This is a requirement of the law, if Father objects to the move.

The court heard evidence from both parties. The court gave father most of the parental decision-making responsibilities. Also, most of the parenting time of their minor child. The parties had not been married but had the one child.

Mother was given parenting time every other weekend. Mother could only use her parenting time to go within a 1 hour drive of Father’s Chicago home.  The court’s decision ordered Mother to return to the Chicago area. She was to reside within 25 miles of either Father’s current home or the apartment originally shared by the parents. If the visitation is for longer than 72 hours, it can be at Mother’s Champaign County home.

Mother appealed.  The law stated that the court cannot restrict a parent’s parenting time (visitation). That is, unless the court sees that the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health is affected.

The appellate court said that the trial court was mistaken. There was no evidence that Mother’s having more than a 1 hour drive from Father’s house would seriously endanger child’s health. Father said that it was in the child’s best interests to stay close to Father’s home. That is not evidence.  The court did not hear any evidence that it the child was seriously endangered by a drive longer than 1 hour away with Mother.

The appellate court ordered the case to go back to the trial court. The trial court was to reconsider the restriction of 1 hour driving time away from Father’s house.  Everything else the trial court ordered  would stay the same.

In re Custody of G.L., 2017 IL App (1st) 163171, May 31, 2017.

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