After a divorce in Michigan, there are a variety of reasons that one of the parents might want to relocate to another state and might want to move with their children. In some cases, a parent might get remarried to an out of state spouse or be offered a new job that requires an out-of-state move, and in other situations, moving away from Michigan can feel like a necessary step in getting a fresh start after divorce. Yet it is critical for parents to understand that they cannot simply move out of state with the child, regardless of whether they have sole custody or joint child custody. Rather, it is necessary to obtain permission from the court in order to move out of state with your child.
How does a court decide whether or not to grant a parent’s request to move out of state with the child? The court will consider varying issues in determining whether it is in the best interests of the child to grant permission for an out-of-state move.
Michigan Law Requires Court Permission to Move
Under the Michigan Child Custody Act, a parent with sole or joint custody of a child after a divorce cannot decide on his or her own to move out of state with the child. According to the statute, a parent with a child custody order in place cannot change the child’s legal residence to a location that is more than 100 miles away from where the child lives currently.
The law also applies to out-of-state moves. Indeed, if you are offered a job in a nearby state like Ohio, for example, and want to move to Toledo, Ohio with your child, you will still need to ask the court for permission to do so even though Toledo may be fewer than 100 miles from your current legal residence with the child. You should also know that the Michigan statute applies even if the other parent consents to the move. To be clear, if the other parent consents to the out-of-state move, you cannot simply make the move without obtaining permission from the court.
Applying the “Best Interests of the Child” and “Changing Domicile” Factors
Now that you know any out-of-state move will require permission from the court, you are likely wondering about the factors a court will use in determining whether you can move to another state with your children. According to Michigan law, the court can consider a wide variety of factors, including but not limited to the following:
- Existing emotion ties between the child and each of the parents;
- Capacity for each parent to provide the child with love and affection, as well as guidance and education;
- Capacity for each parent to provide for the child’s needs, such as food, clothing, and medical care;
- Length of time that the child has been in an existing stable environment;
- Moral fitness of each of the parents;
- Mental and physical health of the parents and the child; and/or
- Child’s reasonable preference if the child can voice a reasoned preference based on age and maturity.
- Will the proposed move improve the quality of life for the moving parent and child
- Will the move allow for adequate replacement parenting time
- What are the motives of each parents position
- Is domestic violence an issue
Learn More from a Michigan Child Custody Lawyer
Do you have questions about child custody and relocation? A Michigan child custody attorney can help. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today.