Considerations When Moving a Minor Child After Michigan Divorce

When a judge issues a final decree in a Michigan divorce case, it will typically include an arrangement for the custody, parenting time, support, and other details involved with care of a minor child. However, circumstances may change in the months and years after your divorce. At times, it may be necessary for a custodial parent to relocate, either within the state or to another jurisdiction. The legal requirements of moving a minor child differ depending on the current residence as compared to the new home, so you should consult with an attorney before changing your address. An experienced Michigan child custody lawyer can discuss the legal procedures and tell you more about your rights, whether you're the custodial or non-custodial parent.

Joint Custody - The 100 Mile Rule

Under Michigan law, a parent does not need to get a court order to relocate the minor child if the new address is 100 miles or less from the old location. The 100 Mile Rule only applies if that parent is moving within the state, however; there are different rules when relocating to a different state. The distance requirement looks to the child's two residences when parents are sharing custody to determine the 100-mile mark. Keep in mind that there may be complications if the new location leads to problems with the parenting schedule. It may still be necessary to go to court to adjust parenting time due to the increase in distance.

Beyond 100 Miles

When the move will take the child out of the 100-mile range, a parent must obtain consent from the other or get approval from the court. A written consent of one parent is sufficient, and it should be filed with the court. If the non-relocating parent wishes to contest the move, a court will determine whether to allow relocation. A judge looks to see if the move is in the child's best interests based upon different statutory factors.

Moving Out of Michigan

No matter how far the move takes the minor child, a parent must get permission from the court if the new address will be out of Michigan. The court will look to the same factors that relate to the child's best interests in making a determination. A judge will consider granting permission if the relocation leads to a better quality of life - whether due to an increased salary for the moving parent, higher quality schools, or to be closer to family. On the other hand, courts do not look favorably on an out-of-state relocation if it reduces parenting time.

A Michigan Child Custody Lawyer Can Help with Relocation

Both custodial and non-custodial parent of minor children have rights under Michigan law, and they include rights regarding living arrangements and potential relocation. If you're seeking to move the minor to another residence, you need the assistance of a skilled attorney to navigate the legal process. Where you want to contest relocation, it's important to retain a lawyer to help you present your side of the matter. Attorney Michael A. Robbins has years of experience representing clients on both sides of the relocation issue, and will advise you on your options under Michigan law. Please contact our Bloomfield Hills, MI office for more information or with questions about your case.