Parents facing a divorce with a spouse who has ties to another nation often have concerns about international child custody. Even when one parent has primary physical custody, Michigan usually preserves the right of each parent to spend time with the child and contribute to important decisions about his or her upbringing.

Learn more about the state laws that govern interstate and international relocation with minor children.

Michigan relocation laws

The parent with primary physical custody may relocate without permission from the other parent or the court as long as he or she stays within Michigan and within 100 miles of the child’s current address. However, parents with primary legal custody can move anywhere in Michigan regardless of the distance.

When one parent lives in another state or country, custody decisions still fall under Michigan jurisdiction because of the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. This federal law gives the child’s home state the power to make custody decisions. It defines the home state as the child’s home for at least six years or since birth for younger children.

Contesting a planned move

The parent who wants to move out of the state or country must petition the court for permission. The other parent will have a chance to respond to this petition with any concerns about the move. The court will only allow the custodial parent to relocate if circumstances have significantly changed since the initial custody order and a move is in the best interests of the child.

Invoking the Hague Convention

This international law requires countries that have signed the Hague Convention to order the return of a child who a parent improperly brought to another country. If the child fails to return from a trip abroad with one parent, the other parent can file a request for return under this law. Ex-spouses can also make provisions in the parenting order to forbid the child from traveling to a country that does not participate in the Hague Convention.