When is Court Approval Needed for Divorced Parents to Relocate in Michigan?

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When is Court Approval Needed for Divorced Parents to Relocate in Michigan?

Parties may go through significant life changes after a Michigan divorce, making a previous court order on child custody no longer practical for parents and children. Job changes, new relationships, and other unforeseen circumstances may require a parent to relocate, but doing so requires compliance with various rules and regulations. Any mistakes or oversights in the relocation process can have serious legal consequences.

The lawyers at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. are here to help with relocation in child custody cases. We ensure you understand your rights and obligations, whether you’re the parent seeking to move or the one staying put. Our attorneys represent your interests throughout the process, so you can make informed decisions about your situation.

Experienced Representation in Relocation Cases

Relocating with a minor child is a serious matter under Michigan law, so a parent seeking a change of domicile must strictly comply with the legal requirements. In general, a parent does not need court approval to move with the child if:

  • That parent has sole custody; OR,
  • The parent seeking relocation is not moving out of Michigan and:
    • He or she is relocating less than 100 miles from the current residence;
    • The parents were already living more than 100 miles apart when the original order was entered; or,
    • The move will result in the parents living closer together.

For all other change of domicile matters, a relocating parent must obtain court approval. There are a few acceptable means of moving the child: 

  • By Agreement: If both parents agree to relocation and the child’s new residence is still in Michigan, the parties can prepare and enter a court order reflecting the new arrangement.
  • By Motion: If the parents do not agree, the party seeking relocation must file a motion and have the court decide the matter. As with the original determination on child custody, the most important consideration in change of domicile is the child’s best interests. In that context, a judge may review:
    • Whether the move will improve quality of life for the child and relocating parent;
    • Each parent’s adherence to parenting time schedule;
    • Whether the relocating parent is only moving to disrupt the parenting time schedule;
    • How the move may impact parenting time for the non-custodial parent, and allow each parent to maintain a strong relationship with the child;
    • Other factors designated by law.

Consult with a Michigan Lawyer on Relocation Issues

The skilled attorneys at Lucido & Manzella, P.C. are here to serve your legal needs if you or the child’s other parent must make a move. We’ve represented clients on both sides of the relocation issue, so our lawyers have the experience to help you navigate the process and stay in compliance with Michigan law. If you have questions about relocation and would like to speak with a member of our legal team, please call us. You can also visit us online to schedule a confidential consultation. We have proudly served clients throughout Michigan for many years, and we’re here to support you.

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