Can I Relocate With My Child After the Divorce?

Going through a divorce is almost always complicated and difficult, and many people who finalize a divorce in Michigan want to get a fresh start afterward. For many, this means moving into a new home and, sometimes, to a new city or state. However, relocating after a divorce can be complicated if you have a minor child from the marriage, even if you have a primary physical custody, or share some form of parenting time with the other parent. You may need to consider a "relocation" under the Michigan Child Custody Act.

To be clear, you might be asking, "Can I relocate with my child after the divorce?" The answer to that question depends upon a number of different factors.

How Far Away do You Want to Move?

The answer to the question of whether you can relocate with your child after the divorce first depends upon how far away you want to move. Under Michigan law, you cannot move more than 100 miles away from the child's current legal residence without getting permission from the other parent or seeking permission from the court to make this move.

In other words, if you want to move to a new city or even simply a new home that is fewer than 100 miles away from the current residence, you may not need to get permission from anyone to do so because it may not be a relocation under Michigan law. However, you should always speak with a Michigan divorce lawyer before making any major changes that could impact your divorce settlement or any other court orders associated with your divorce.

Do You Share Custody of the Child with the Other Parent?

In situations in which the court decides that only one parent should have sole legal custody of the child, that parent may not need to get permission to move with the child, even if it is to a residence greater than 100 miles away from the child's current legal residence. However, it is relatively rare for the court to grant sole legal custody to just one parent.

If you believe you do not need permission because you have sole custody, you should still speak with a family lawyer about your situation to avoid any problems arising with your planned relocation.

Does the Other Parent Give Permission for the Move?

Even if you plan to move more than 100 miles from the current residence and share custody with the other parent, you can typically make that move as long as the other parent gives permission. The court usually will need to approve the change, but it is relatively easy to relocate if the other parent agrees.

Does the Court Approve of the Move?

If the other parent does not give permission for the move and you share legal custody, you will need to seek permission from the court. The court looks at a number of different factors when determining whether the move would be in the child's best interests and, thus, whether to give permission for the relocation.

Contact a Divorce Attorney in Michigan

Do you need help with relocation after your divorce? A divorce attorney in Michigan can assist you. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to speak with an experienced advocate about your options.