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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

Can a divorced parent move with a child to a different state?

One of the most difficult adjustments a parent must make following a divorce is with their children. The new situation, involving separate households potentially miles apart, means the time you spend together is half of what it once was.

So what happens when one parent wants to move? Are they allowed to do so without any hindrance?

Moving within Michigan

First, consider a scenario where one parent wants to move but will remain within the state of Michigan. If the new domicile is within 100 miles of the child’s home at the time of the initial order, the law generally affords them the freedom to do so. This applies to both parents, regardless of the custody arrangement.

However, if a parent wants to move more than 100 miles away from where the child lived at the onset of the family law case, they must request permission from the courts. The judge will weigh a variety of factors, and the non-moving parent can file an objection.

There are five potential factors that may negate this 100-mile rule, meaning the moving parent will not need permission from a judge:

  • If the moving parent has sole legal custody, and can still follow the parenting time arrangement
  • The non-moving parent permits the move
  • The parents were residing more than 100 miles apart when the case began
  • The moving parent’s new residence will be closer to the non-moving parent’s home
  • There is a specific provision in the custody order

Moving to a different state

This situation is, in some ways, more straightforward than a move within Michigan. If a parent that has custody of their child wants to move to a different state, they must get permission from the court. It does not matter if the move is less than 100 miles.

In addition, the custody arrangement – sole or joint – is irrelevant. And even if both parents agree to the move, the matter should be taken to a judge.

The judge will consider what is in the best interests of the child, and a parent has an opportunity to object to the out-of-state move.

A child custody arrangement is a delicate matter, requiring both parents to balance a variety of factors. A big move might upset this balance. While Michigan’s laws may seem strict, but they protect the parent-child relationship.