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Navigating Michigan laws on child custody and parent relocation

On Behalf of | Jan 12, 2024 | Child Custody

Parents relocating can be a complex issue, especially when it comes to child custody arrangements. In Michigan, courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making any custody-related decisions, including relocations.

Here are key points you should know when navigating Michigan laws regarding relocation and child custody:

The notice requirement

In Michigan, if a custodial parent plans to relocate more than 100 miles from their child’s current residence or out of state, they generally must provide notice to the other parent and obtain either the court’s permission or the other parent’s consent.

However, notice is not necessary in certain circumstances, such as having sole custody while relocating within the state and cases of domestic violence.

The necessity to modify the custody order

A parent’s relocation may require modifying the existing custody order, especially if it significantly changes the parenting time schedule or the child’s living arrangements. The court will reassess custody and parenting time based on the new circumstances.

Other considerations

With relocation requests, a hearing may be necessary for the court to gather evidence and hear testimonies from both parents. This is usually the case when the other parent objects to the move. During the process, the parent wishing to relocate must prove that the move is in the child’s best interest.

Among other factors, the court will consider how the proposed relocation will affect the non-relocating parent’s ability to maintain a relationship with the child. This could lead to adjustments in the parenting time schedule, such as longer blocks of time during school breaks or holidays.

The priority: Best interests of the child

Ultimately, the court will consider how the parent’s relocation would impact the child’s best interests, which include looking into the child’s emotional ties, adjustment to home, school and community and the capacity of each parent to provide love, care and guidance.

It is essential for any parent considering relocation to understand these aspects of custody and relocation laws and to approach the situation with careful planning. The primary goal is ensuring the child’s well-being is the focal point of any custody-related decisions.