Is Your Ex Trying to Move Away With Your Kids? (Part 1)

Moving with your children when you have a shared custody agreement can be very complicated!


People move for all kinds of reasons. They get job offers they can’t turn down, which require them to relocate. They start relationships with people who live in other cities, or even states. Sometimes they simply want to start life over in a new place. However, while uprooting your life and starting over can be a challenge, it’s infinitely more complicated when you’ve got kids and some kind of shared custody or visitation agreement.


Back in the day, a parent in Michigan who had custody of their kids could pick up and move across the state with no more than a passing notification to Friend of the Court. But thankfully times have changed, and the Michigan family court system makes a concerted effort to maintain relationships between kids and their parents. So if your ex wants to move to another town or city in Michigan, or even out of the state, there’s some red tape that needs to be dealt with first!


What if I have sole legal custody of my kids?


If you have sole legal AND physical custody of your child, and the other parent doesn’t even show up on the radar of your child’s life, then you can move anywhere without having to ask the court’s permission, including out of state.


However, if you share custody, or your child’s other parent has visitation rights, then you If your new house is within 100 miles of your old house, then no, you won’t need permission from the court for moving anywhere, either in or out of Michigan.


Do I have to ask the court if I can move to another house?


If you have a court ordered custody agreement, and your new home is more than 100 miles away from the old one, you will have to get permission before making the move. Also, if the new house you’re moving to is within 100 miles of your previous house, but you have to put your child in another school district, you will still have to get permission from the court.


This is because the court believes that a distance of more than 100 miles between parents makes custody exchanges and visits too difficult for the parents. And you may still need to seek a modification of a parenting time arrangement if the current agreement doesn’t work when you are 100 miles away. Also, Support might be modified if the other parent is having added traveling expenses due to your move either within 100 mile or more than. (And just so that you know, that distance is measured “as the crow flies” not in highway miles.)


Can a parent permanently leave the state with their child if they want to?


If that child has no ties of any kind to the other parent, then sure! But if there’s a court ordered parenting time schedule, or the parents have some kind of custody agreement in place, then no. Not without the permission of the court, that is. (Support could still be considered a “tie” to the child but won’t affect a domicile change under these circumstances.)


In order to get the court’s permission, they’d have to prove a number of things first. So what would those things be? Well, you’ll have to come back next time, because we’ll be explaining all of that in the next article.


Does your ex want to move and take your kids with them?


This is always a challenging situation. Sometimes moving is unavoidable, and for parents who share their children, it can really complicate that agreement. The best thing to do in these situations is sit down with your ex and discuss everything – how they propose to maintain the relationship, how the agreement would be different, and what new costs you would be facing.

Also, we highly recommend you get a family law attorney to help you figure out what would be best for you and your kids. There are often things that get overlooked when parents make or change plans without the help of a lawyer who understands the system. If you have questions or need help, call 866 766 5245 and talk to one of our highly skilled family law attorneys. We are here to help.