How to Win a Child Relocation or Change of Domicile Motion After Michigan Divorce

If you and your ex-spouse are co-parenting minor children after your divorce, there are limitations on where you can move when circumstances change. Like most states, Michigan has enacted legislation that favors the involvement of both parents in a child's life. Therefore, you're not entirely in charge of your own destiny when making decisions about where you can relocate. You must comply with legal requirements when moving beyond a certain distance, and court approval may be necessary in some cases. Still, when you understand the factors courts consider when faced with a motion to relocate - and retain an experienced Michigan child relocation attorney to assist - it is possible to prevail.

The 100-Mile Rule

When you share joint legal custody of a minor child with another parent, you don't need to request court permission to relocate within the State of Michigan - so long as you are moving within 100 miles or less from the child's residence of record. If you want to relocate out of state, the 100 mile limitation does not apply: You must also obtain court approval.

In addition, if your move makes it difficult for your children's other parent to stick to a parenting schedule, you may face a legal challenge. For example, if you move 95 miles away and your ex-spouse cannot adhere to a routine transition between your respective households, your spouse may move for a change in the co-parenting arrangement.

Beyond 100 Miles

If you're relocating the child beyond 100 miles from your current residence, you must either obtain consent from your ex-spouse or obtain court approval. Where possible, it's beneficial to get consent from the child's other parent. You'll just need to agree, in writing, and inform the court of your intentions. When your ex-spouse doesn't agree to you relocating the child, it's necessary to file a motion in court to request the move. Once again, if you want to move out of state you must obtain court approval.

Factors the Court Assesses in Child Relocation Motions

In ruling on a motion to relocate the child, a judge will consider:

  • Whether the move will improve the quality of life for you, your ex-spouse, and your child;

  • The extent to which you and the child's other parent has complied with parenting time orders and scheduling;

  • Whether it's clear that there are intentions to frustrate parenting time; and,

  • How well you and the child's other parent can adhere to a parenting schedule after the move.

A Skilled Michigan Child Relocation Lawyer Can Help

Though you don't have complete control over where you move as a co-parent, your chances of winning a motion to relocate after a Michigan divorce greatly improve if you have an experienced attorney on your side. A lawyer can walk you through the legal requirements to help you understand your options and guide you in making informed decisions about your situation. If you would like to hear more about Michigan law on relocating minor children, please contact the Bloomfield Hills, MI offices of attorney Michael A. Robbins. We've assisted many parents when a job or other circumstances require a move, and we can work with you to facilitate the process.