Prior to 2001, a parent with physical custody of their child or children only had to notify Friend of the Court of their new address and they could go anywhere in the state they desired, no holds barred. Thankfully times have changed, and the court now goes to greater lengths to maintain any possibility for a child to have relationships with both of their parents. Current public policy favors a child having relationships with both parents which the court will go to great lengths to support.
Currently Michigan law states that a parent with a court-ordered custody agreement may not take their child and move out of state without the permission of the court. It also states that a parent may not move more than 100 miles from their residence if their current custody arrangement was ordered by the court. The only exceptions to this change of domicile rule are if the moving parent has sole legal custody of the child or children. In that case they are not legally required to have the permission of the noncustodial parent or if the child’s two residences were already more than 100 miles apart. Most Michigan family law attorneys advise clients to get consent from the other parent or to get a court order, regardless of the custody arrangement.
If you want to move to another town or city that is 99 or less miles away from your current residence, you do not require permission from the court, or from your child’s other parent, as long as you are not moving out of state. (That distance is measured “as the crow flies” and not in highway miles.) Should a parent want to move beyond the 100 mile limit, they would be required to get permission from the child’s other parent. But what does one do if the other parent won’t give their permission?
For parents who want to move further than the 100 mile mark or outside the state of Michigan, but their children’s other parent has refused to provide them with permission, there is another option. They can still petition the court for permission. In making the decision as to whether or not to grant permission for the move, the court considers five factors, which are:
- Whether or not the move would be advantageous, in terms of improving quality of life for both the custodial parent and child. For example, does the move offer greater income opportunities, or better living conditions for the child and the parent? The emphasis is placed on advantages to the child rather than to the parent.
- The motives of the custodial parent. In this, the court pays close attention to whether the move is being made simply in order to cause the noncustodial parent grief or frustration.
- Whether the court will be able to put in place replacement visitation orders, so as to preserve the child’s relationship with both parents.
- The motives of the non-custodial parent in fighting the change of domicile (This is meant to prevent a parent from negotiating a lower support payment in exchange for letting the other parent move away)
- Domestic violence. This refers to any kind of domestic violence that the child may have been subject to, or may have witnessed.
If your ex wants to move away with your child whether out of state or within the borders of Michigan, there are a number of things that you will need to take into consideration before making a decision. The experienced family law attorneys at The Kronzek Firm can help you to decide how to handle the requested move when it comes to a change of domicile.