January 28, 2021

How Is Child Custody Impacted by Moving More Than 100 Miles Away?

Child custody and parenting time can be difficult for Michigan couples during and after a divorce. The goal is to craft a nurturing and positive environment for the child while serving his or her best interests and simultaneously assist the parents in maintaining a relationship with the child. However, custodial parents might want to change their residence and bring the child with them. If it is not far away from the previous location and the noncustodial parent is not negatively impacted by the move, it is generally not an issue. If the parent is moving more than 100 miles away, it is important to understand how this is addressed.

What if the distance of the move exceeds 100 miles?

If the custodial parent wants to move more than 100 miles away from the other parent, a judge must approve it. The following are exceptions to this rule: if the noncustodial parent agrees to the move; if the judge has given one parent sole custody of the child; if the parents were already living 100 miles apart; and if the move means the parents are living closer than they were previously. Moving to another state must be approved regardless of the distance.

When parents do not agree on the move, the moving parent must file a motion. It should detail the reasons for the move. That can include a job, living closer to family members or to attend school. The court may ask for a professional evaluation before deciding. A hearing where the parents will state their position may be held.

The judge will generally decide based on whether the move will enhance the quality of life for the child and the custodial parent; whether there was prior compliance with the parenting time order and if the move is done to cause problems for the other parent; if the change will require a modified parenting time order and if it is feasible and sufficient; and if child support is a mitigating factor in the decision to move or to protest it. If there was domestic violence in the past will be an obvious consideration.

Parents should consider getting legal advice for these issues

Regardless of whether it is from the perspective of the custodial parent or the noncustodial parent, a move of more than 100 miles away can create a host of challenges that must be navigated. With this or any other aspect of a family law case, it is important to remember the value of experienced legal advice. This could be a critical aspect of a successful and agreeable outcome. Consulting with a firm that understands parenting time, child custody and family law may be helpful.