Child Relocation in Michigan

For most people, the decision to move is a personal one. While the concerns of family members may be a factor to consider, the choice is ultimately left to the person making the move. However, when a custody order is in place with regard to your children, the decision becomes much more complicated—and is not yours alone.

Moving with Children after Divorce

When children are subject to a custody order, a parent may not move the children’s legal residence more than 100 miles from the original legal residence unless:

  • The other parent consents; or
  • The court, after considering specific factors, grants permission

This restriction does not apply if the residences of the two parents are already more than 100 miles apart, nor when the move will bring the two residences closer than they were before the move.

Obtaining Court Permission to Relocate Children

If the other parent does not consent to the move, the court may grant permission for the move after considering:

  • The likelihood that the move will improve quality of life for the children and the relocating parent
  • The degree to which each parent has complied with and participated in parenting time under the court order
  • Whether the planned move is intended to interfere with the other parent’s access to the child
  • The viability of modifying parenting time in a way that will preserve the relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent
  • The likelihood that both parents will comply with the modified parenting time schedule
  • The non-relocating parent’s reasons for opposing the move
  • Domestic violence directed toward or witnessed by the child

Where domestic violence is involved, the parent and child may move to a safe location during the pendency of a motion for leave to relocate, but must promptly follow appropriate procedures.

Pre-empting Relocation Issues

Michigan law provides that any order determining or modifying custody may include an agreed provision addressing how relocation of the child’s legal residence will be managed. If the current order contains such a provision and the parents act in compliance with the agreement as set forth in the order, the court’s permission is not necessary, even if the move is more than 100 miles.
This is important information not just for parents planning a move, but also for those who are preparing to divorce or who have already divorced by may be considering some other modification of custody or parenting time. Reaching an agreement on this issue and entering the agreement into the custody order may save you time and money when an opportunity arises, and may reduce conflict when the emotional issue of children relocating is actually on the table. On the other hand, parents may not want to enter into an agreement without knowing the specifics of the actual move, including factors such as the distance, whether the children would be leaving the state and how old the children are at the time of the move.
If you are preparing to divorce or considering modification of custody or parenting time, discuss this issue with your attorney to determine whether it’s in your best interest to include an agreement in the upcoming order.

Talk to a Family Law Attorney before You Plan Your Move

If your children are subject to a custody order, it is in your best interest to make sure that you fully understand your obligations as early as possible in the process. It is also important that you are aware of the timeline for obtaining the court’s permission to relocate.
We can assist with the entire process, from determining the necessary steps before you plan a move to preparing and filing the necessary documents if the other parent consents to representing you at a contested hearing if your children’s other parent objects to the move.

Call 269-978-6560 to schedule your free consultation.

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