Michigan’s rules about parental relocation

On Behalf of | May 14, 2020 | Divorce |

Like many other states, Michigan has a law which restricts parents who are following a court’s custody order from moving with their child.  This law is likely to apply in the case of divorces, separations and situations where unmarried couples are subject to a paternity order.

The way the law is written, it does not apply to situations in which one parent has sole legal custody, or decision-making authority, over a child. However, even in these cases, parents should review their court orders and strongly consider consulting with their attorneys. Detailed questions about this law and how it applies to one’s circumstances should also be referred to a Michigan family law attorney.

The law also does not apply to several other common situations, such as the following:

  • When the parents agree on the move;
  • When the parents already live more than 100 miles apart;
  • When the move is going to bring the two parents closer;
  • When the move is less than 100 miles from the parent’s current residence, that is, even if it is to another state.

When the law does apply, however, a parent cannot move without receiving permission from the family court which is overseeing child custody and parenting time.

Before granting permission, the court will consider a number of factors in order to determine the best interests of the child. By way of example, the court will consider whether the move is going to benefit the child and also whether the court can adjust the parenting time schedule so neither parent loses out because of the move.

The court will examine the motives of each parent in either asking for or opposing the move. For instance, the court is less likely to consider a parent’s objection if the parent has not had regular contact with the child and seems to want to cause trouble for the other parent.