Can I Relocate with my Child after a Divorce?

If you and your former spouse have a child whom you are co-parenting after a divorce, you may not have complete control over where you want to reside. This is especially true if you are intending to move somewhere outside the State of Michigan.

Decisions regarding child custody and visitation are always made to favor the child's best interests. As such, public policy in the state of Michigan encourages that the child be as involved as possible with both of his or her parents.

In light of this goal, there are restrictions in the state of Michigan regarding how far, when, and where a parent can move with a child following a divorce. In general, a parent's ability to relocate with his or her child is determined by the type of custody arrangement which the parties have in place, as well as the distance the parent wants to move.

All divorce and child custody cases are unique. If you are recently divorced from your spouse and are anticipating a move with your minor child, the experienced Michigan divorce and child custody lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins can help you make an informed decision in your case.

Joint Custody Arrangements

In joint custody arrangements, both parents share physical custody of their minor child or children. When that is the case, it is not necessary for you to obtain court approval, in the event you wish to move a maximum of 100 miles away from the residence where your child legally resides.

This 100 miles refers to road travel, however - not a 100-mile radius. Moreover, you must be moving somewhere in the state of Michigan. In the event you wish to move closer to your child's other parent, there are obviously no restrictions on doing that.

If you wish to move more than 100 miles away in the state of Michigan, subject to some limited exceptions, then it is necessary for you to either obtain the written consent of the child's other parent, or in the alternative, that you gain approval from the court. If you are able to obtain the other parent's written consent, this will likely speed up the process considerably. After obtaining the necessary consent, you will need to file a stipulation with the court.

What if the Other Parent Refuses to Consent to Your Requested Move?

In some instances, the other parent may not consent to you move. In that case, it is up to the court to determine whether the move would be in the best interests of the minor child. In making this determination, the court will consider the following factors:

  • Potential improvement in quality of life for the child and/or the parent

  • Whether the parent has been compliant with previous parenting time orders

  • Whether amending the schedule for parenting will continue to preserve the relationship between both parents and the minor child or children

  • Whether there is domestic violence involved in the relationship between the parents which the minor child or children have witnessed


Sole Legal Custody Arrangements

In some instances, one parent may have sole legal custody and decision making power regarding the minor children in the relationship. In the event that one parent has sole legal custody over the minor children, that parent may move with the child anywhere else in the state he or she deems fit. A parent with sole legal custody does not need to obtain the other parent's permission or that of the court.

Out of State Moves

In the event you wish to move with your child outside the state of Michigan, you must obtain permission from the court. This is true regardless of the custody arrangement which is in place, or the distance from the state line to the child's residence.

When it comes to determining what is in the child's best interests, the court will consider many of the factors listed above.

Call a Michigan Child Custody Lawyer Today

If you are trying to determine whether your minor child could reside with you somewhere else in Michigan, or outside the State, it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins, we can assist you with making difficult decisions that affect child custody and visitation.

To schedule a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Michigan child custody attorney, please contact us online today.