Court allowed the wife permission to move from Illinois to North Carolina with the parties’ two minor children. Husband appealed the reduction of his visitation. He had wanted even more visitation with the children than he was now given.
When the parties had divorced, the court awarded joint custody to the parties. Wife was the residential parent. Husband was granted overnight visitation with the children on Wednesdays and every other weekend. It also set out a holiday and summer visitation schedule.
Wife later became engaged to a man, Ben, who lived in North Carolina. He earned a good salary as an accountant.
Wife alleged certain details in her Petition for Relocation. She was unemployed. She was not in a position to obtain lucrative employment in Illinois. She had been out of the workforce caring for the children. She was the sole caretaker of the children. She did not have extended family in Illinois to assist her with raising the children.
She alleged that she could seek employment in North Carolina. Or educational opportunities. Or obtain skills that would improve her chances of lucrative employment.
She alleged that removal of the children to North Carolina was in the children’s best interests. Their quality of life would be better. They would live in a more luxurious home than they currently lived in in Illinois. They would be afforded additional time with their future stepsiblings and stepgrandparents, who live in North Carolina. The area where she would reside in North Carolina had more resources such as cultural events, day care, etc.
The girls would have ample opportunities to visit with husband, their father, after they moved. The Guardian Ad Litem did not agree that father should have more visitation time after the move. The GAL recommended that father should have parenting time at least once per month.
Evidence showed that husband had not taken opportunities for parenting time. He was not supportive of wife’s needs for help with the children. Neither parent had family support in Illinois.
The Court properly considered all relevant statutory factors. It concluded that the benefits of relocating the children outweighed any potential negative impact.
The Court properly denied husband’s request for more visitation/parenting time with the children. He e failed to prove that modification would be in the children’s best interest.
Williams v. Williams, 2018 IL App (5th) 170228 (December 27, 2018).