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What are my options if I need to move?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2022 | Divorce

After a divorce, a person in the West Michigan area may need to relocate for any number of reasons.  Sometimes, a better economic opportunity may await them elsewhere, while in other cases, family concerns or a chance to improve the lives of the person’s children may be the motivating factor.

Like many other states, Michigan has a law which requires those who are subject to a custody and parenting time order, like a divorce decree, to get permission to change the child’s residence more than 100 miles away.  When granting permission, the family law court will consider a number of factors.

The best interest of the children involved is always the court’s most important concern, but it will also examine the reasons the parent wants to move as well as the reasons the other has for opposing the move.

There are several exceptions to Michigan’s change of domicile provision

Michigan’s change of domicile law has several notable exceptions.

For one, if a custody order itself expressly gives a parent permission to relocate, the requirements in the law do not apply. On a related note, the requirements do not apply if the parent who wants to move has sole legal custody.

Likewise, if the parents agree on a relocation, then a parent does not have to get permission from the court to move. However, the parents will want to file their agreement with the court for review and approval.

The requirements in the law only apply to permanent changes in residence that are more than 100 miles from the child’s existing home. Furthermore, for the rules to apply, the parents must be living within 100 miles of each other prior to the move.

Another exception is if the net result of the move will be that the child lives closer to the other parent.

Even if a parent believes one of these exceptions applies, he or she should still read over the original custody order as it may include additional requirements.  Additionally, a change the legal residence of a child less than 100 miles may still trigger legal custody issues   that need to be resolved.  It is always important to understand all the possible family law consequences of a move.  Because custody and domicile issues are some of the most difficult to navigate in the legal system, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney before taking any action.