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What Are the Basics of Relocation in Child Custody Cases?

by | Apr 25, 2024 | Family Law |

Child custody relocation is an intricate and emotional facet of family law, often fraught with complexities for both the parents and the child involved. When a separated or divorced parent considers moving with their child, it triggers a series of legal, logistical, and emotional considerations that demand careful navigation. The Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins are here to provide helpful insight for separated parents seeking relocation. 

Understanding the Legal Framework

In Michigan, laws governing child custody relocation are designed to balance the rights of the custodial parent wanting to move with the potential impact on the non-custodial parent’s visiting rights and the child’s welfare. Specifically, Michigan’s Child Custody Act mandates that a custodial parent seeking to move more than 100 miles from their current residence or out of state must obtain either the other parent’s consent or a court order. 

The Process of Seeking Relocation

If you are a parent considering relocation, it is essential to try and obtain the consent of your child’s other parent. This approach shows cooperation and can save time and money. However, if the other parent disagrees, you will need to petition the court for permission. You must submit a formal request with specific information about your proposed move, the reasons for it, and how it will impact the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights. You may also need to attend a hearing to present your case. Having an experienced family law attorney by your side is crucial to help you navigate this process. 

How the Court Will Make its Decision

When a custodial parent petitions for relocation, the court will assess various factors to determine if it is in the child’s best interests. These factors may include:

  • The reason for the move – Is it for a new job, educational opportunity, or to be closer to family?
  • The potential impact on the non-custodial parent’s visitation rights – Will the move significantly limit their ability to see the child?
  • The current relationship between the child and non-custodial parent – Is it a strong and stable bond?
  • The child’s preference, if they are of sufficient age and maturity to have a say. 

The court will prioritize a decision that provides the child with the most stability and positive environment. The goal is to ensure that the child’s relationship with both parents remains intact, despite the relocation. If the relocation is not beneficial for the child you will have to forgo the move or consider a reasonable alternative.  

What Happens if the Court Approves?

If the court grants relocation permission, you must update your parenting time agreement accordingly. This may include arranging transportation costs or increasing virtual visitation with the non-custodial parent. The court order may also specify that the custodial parent must maintain regular communication between the child and the non-custodial parent while apart. It is essential to follow these orders to avoid any conflicts or legal consequences. 

Importance of Legal Consultation

Legal advice is crucial for parents considering relocation. The skilled family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins provide guidance in child custody relocation cases, safeguarding parental rights and the child’s welfare. With a deep knowledge of the laws, we can help you navigate this process effectively. Contact us for a consultation to address your situation and find the best solution for your family.