After a child custody arrangement is finalized, there may be circumstances where a parent wants to move. These may include a new job opportunity, relocating to a different school district or moving to be closer to family or friends.
In Michigan, if the parent who wants to move has joint legal custody and he or she wants to move more than 100 miles from where the child lived at the time the custody order was issued, he or she is generally required to have the judge’s approval first. However, there may be a few exceptions.
If the parent has sole legal custody, the other parent agrees to the move, the parents were already living more than 100 miles apart when the court case started or the new residence will be closer to the other parent, the parent may not be required to have the judge’s approval before moving. Even if the parent who wants to move has sole legal custody, he or she must still comply with the parenting time requirements in the custody order.
If the parent is planning to move 100 miles or more, including moves outside of the state of Michigan, he or she must first file a motion with the court and a hearing will be scheduled.
At the hearing, the judge may consider how the move will affect the child’s quality of life, if each parent has followed the parenting time requirements in the custody order or whether the parent is trying to limit the other parent’s time with the child by moving, among other factors. The court focuses on the best interests of the child in making its decision.
It’s important that the process is followed correctly and an experienced attorney can help parents with this issue and related child custody matters.