Illinois’ policy is that children born to unmarried parents have the same rights as those children whose parents never marry. But does that mean the restrictions on that child’s parent are also the same? Illinois law requires a custodial parent who wants to permanently remove a child from the state to obtain permission of the court. The obvious policy of this law is to protect and preserve the relationship between the child and his other parent. Without arguing the merits of this law generally, the question is whether courts should apply this law if the parents were never married. Can the state limit where a never married custodial parent lives?
Assume an unmarried couple conceive a child as a result of a casual liason. And assume mom, who has physical and legal custody, wants to move to Hawaii. Should the court restrict her freedom of movement, applying the same standard it would if mom and dad had been married, and at one time were an intact family? Considering the policy behind relocation restrictions, a different standard makes no sense. But something seems wrong to me about restricting this never wed mother’s mobility. I can’t put my finger on it, but it seems qualitatively different to me. My visceral sense is that the unwed custodial parent should not be limited in their ability to move with the child. But I can’t articulate why. Anybody have any thoughts?