Many people do not realize the impact that divorce can have on their ability to move if they have minor children. Michigan law usually requires you to get the approval of a judge, whether you have joint custody or sole (primary) custody, to move with a minor child who is the subject of a custody order. A Michigan divorce attorney can help you navigate through this complicated process.
Moving Because of Domestic Violence
If you need to move to get to a safe place because of domestic violence, you can move first and ask the judge's permission afterward. The law does not compel people to remain in a dangerous environment while waiting for a court date. If you were to file papers with the court seeking permission to move while still in a situation that involved domestic violence, the other parent might get angry because of the legal action.
You have very little time after you move, however, to ask the court's permission for the relocation. Waiting too long could look like a case of parental alienation. Be aware that judges hear false accusations of domestic violence frequently. You will need credible evidence, even if it is only your testimony, but things like witnesses and photographs can build the believability of your allegations.
Moving Within the State of Michigan – the 100-Mile Rule
The 100-mile rule says that the judge has to sign an order that allows you to relocate if you want to move more than 100 miles away from where the child lived when your divorce or paternity case got filed. If you and the child's other parent already lived more than 100 miles apart when the family court case started, the 100-mile rule does not apply.
Also, if the other parent does not object to the move, you might not need permission from the judge. Just be careful that you do not get tricked. Sometimes a person will agree verbally to the relocation, only to file objections with the court after you sell your house and quit your job to move. To prevent this situation, have the other parent sign a detailed consent order and file it with the court before committing to the relocation.
The judge will consider multiple factors when ruling on a relocation motion, including:
- How the child can maintain a relationship with the other parent after the move
- Whether the parents have followed the existing parenting time schedule
- The motivation of the other parent if contesting the move, such as how the different custody schedule would change child support
- Whether the move would improve the quality of life for you and your child
- If the relocation would help you or your children escape domestic violence from the other parent
Depending on the facts of your case, the judge might evaluate other factors as well.
Moving Out of State
Whether you have sole or joint custody, you must get permission from the judge to move to another state. Even if the other parent agrees to the relocation, a judge has to sign off on it. Also, the distance is immaterial for out-of-state moves. If you live one mile from the state line and want to move just across the line to another state, you must get a court order approving the relocation.
Relocations can be messy when there are minor children. A Michigan divorce attorney can help protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. Contact our office today.