For many parents in the greater Detroit area, the thought of a move is itself a stressful proposition.
It takes a lot of work to pack up one’s belongings, update records and relocate, sometimes to a different state or a city hundreds of miles away.
For parents who are subject to child custody orders, a move may also mean a parent has to meet certain legal requirements under Michigan law.
Because parents often want to move because the effort is worth the new and better job or family opportunity at the other end, it is important for them to understand what these requirements are.
Some moves require the prior approval of the family court
Under Michigan law, a permanent move of over 100 miles may require prior approval from the family law court, which will often be the court that decided the original custody case. There are several exceptions to this rule:
- The other parent agrees to the move;
- The parent who wants to move has sole legal custody over the child;
- In the existing custody order, the parents agreed to handling moves via a different process;
- The parents already lived 100 miles apart at the time of the custody order;
- After the move, the parents will live closer than before.
Even if a parent believes one of the exceptions applies to his situation, he should still strongly consider speaking to an experienced family law attorney.
Getting court approval may require litigation
Assuming that no exception applies, the parent wanting to move will have to present her case to the court in a hearing to which the other parent can object to the move and present evidence.
She therefore may need to gather evidence and prepare for a contest custody hearing and may require legal assistance when doing so.