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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, May 4, 2018

Sharing Custody of Your Child - What You Need to Know About Michigan's 100-Mile Law

In some cases, sharing custody of a child is in the best interest of all parties. The parents are able to be involved in their child’s daily life and activities by sharing the parenting responsibilities in ways that benefit the parents and the child. However, if you share legal custody with your child’s other parent or you have sole legal custody and you wish to relocate within Michigan, there are certain rules that you must understand before you begin the relocation process. Before relocating with your child, you need to discuss the move with a Michigan family relocation lawyer.

Michigan’s 100-Mile Rule and Shared Child Custody

Michigan’s 100-mile rule is intended to allow parents to relocate as necessary without the need to file a court proceeding. However, the law also seeks to protect the rights of both parents and the best interest of the child by setting guidelines for relocating when you share legal custody of your child with the other parent.

When parents share custody, the child has two legal residences. If a parent wants to move within a 100-mile radius from the current legal residence, he or she can do so without court approval. In addition, the other parent does not need to approve the move if it is within the 100-mile radius. However, if the relocation causes problems for the other parent, the other parent may petition the court to modify custody and the parenting schedule.

Another crucial factor to consider is the child’s school. Neither parent may change a child’s school without consent of the other parent when legal custody is shared. Therefore, if you relocate 60 or 70 miles away from your child’s current school, you are responsible for transporting the child to and from school w hen the child is with you. The distance to and from school could be considerable in terms of travel time each day and transportation costs.

Another limitation of the 100-mile rule applies to out-of-state relocations. The 100-mile rule is not intended as a “work around” for the restriction of moving a child out-of-state without court permission. Regardless of the distance between the current legal residence and the new legal residence, if the relocation results in moving outside of Michigan, the parent must obtain court approval before relocating with the child.

Moves That are More Than 100 Miles Away from the Current Legal Residence

Parents who desire to relocate more than 100 miles from the current legal residence must meet a higher standard to prove that the move is in the best interest of the child. The court must consider these five factors when deciding whether to grant a parent’s request to relocate more than 100 miles from the current residence:

  • Whether the move is in the best interest of the child. The court will consider the level or degree that the move will improve the quality of life for the child and the relocating parent.

  • Whether both parents have utilized the visitation time with the child as set forth in the parenting plan.

  • Whether the relocation permits or denies both parents to continue to preserve and foster a close relationship with the child.

  • Whether the parent who is opposing the relocation is doing so for financial reasons.

  • Whether the relocation will put the child’s safety in jeopardy because of the risk of domestic violence.

The court will consider all evidence presented by both parties before determining whether the move is in the best interest of the child. Whenever a parent considers a relocation, it is prudent to consult with a Michigan family law attorney to ensure that the parent is in compliance with Michigan’s child custody laws. Family law attorney Cameron C. Goulding is skilled in assisting co-parents in working through custody issues. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.


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