In the previous article about child relocation law in Michigan, we talked about the 100 mile rule, and the fact that that a parent doesn’t need the court or other parent’s permission. We also touched briefly on the issue of moving out of state, however that’s where we would like to pick up again today – what to do about custody when you (or your ex) are planning to move out of state.
As we mentioned before, Michigan courts will not allow a parent with shared custody, or a visitation agreement, to simply relocate to another state. This applies even if the out-of-state move falls within the 100 mile rule. If one of the parents plans to move to another state, whether it’s for work or because of another relationship, they will be required to discuss this with the other parent, and come to an agreement.
Some couples are able to work this out between themselves.
Perhaps it may not be what they would both want, but they are able to understand that the move may be best for their child, and so they find a way to work around the inconvenience and schedule changes. Not all couples, however, have such easy going post-divorce relationships, and in some cases, downright difficult exes can complicate matters! When that’s the case, the court has to step in.
If the parents are unable to come to an agreement about the move, the court will then have to make the decision for them. In this instance, the court determines what will be in the best interests of the child, not the parents, using certain factors to help reach an answer. These factors include whether or not the move improves the quality of life for the child and the relocating parent. Additionally, how well each parent has complied with parenting time agreements up until now will be considered. The court will also try to determine whether or not the move is motivated by a desire to frustrate or upset the current custody arrangement.
Other factors include issues like whether or not each parent is likely to comply with the new schedule, and whether or not the parent opposing the move is doing so out of a desire to secure financial gain for themselves by changing the current child support arrangement. Also, the court will look at whether or not the current parenting schedule can be amended in a way that preserves the relationship between the child and each custodial parent. Lastly, domestic violence is a factor. Whether or not the child has suffered or witnessed domestic violence at either legal residence will play into the decision.
In the next segment we will be looking at some exceptions to the rule, and what is involved in an out-of-state move. Until then, if you or a loved one have concerns about your custody arrangement, or want help modifying a custody agreement, come in and talk to us. The experienced family law attorneys at the Kronzek Firm have spent decades helping Michigan families work through their divorces and all other aspects of family life that requires legal assistance. Call us at 517-886-1000. We are here to help.