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When can I move to a new state with my child?

If a job opportunity in another state presents itself, a Michigan parent might be tempted to move to that state with his or her child. However, due to the nature of child custody laws, the process of getting permission to move with a child could involve a few legal hoops that the parent needs to jump through.

Michigan parents can move to new locations with their children if:

  1. No child custody orders exist stating that the parent cannot change his or her permanent residence without first consulting a judge for approval
  2. No child custody orders exist stating that parents cannot move over 100 miles from their home without obtaining a judge's approval.

Michigan parents don't require approval from a judge if they plan to move to a new place in Michigan and:

  1. The other parent has granted permission for the move.
  2. The judge has granted sole custody just one parent.
  3. The parents live 100 miles away from each other.
  4. The move will bring the parents closer together.

No matter how far or close the move happens to be, if the move involves crossing into another state, then a judge must give his or her permission. This approval can come by:

  1. Getting the other parent to agree to the move.
  2. Get a judge to override the other parent's protest against the move. When the parents don't agree, the moving parent will need to file a request to relocate offering arguments as to why the move should take place. The reasons could involve a new job, getting closer to family members or other reasons that will benefit the child.

Although moving to another state or moving more than 100 miles away may require a parent to navigate some legal hurdles, achieving your relocation goals may be possible. That said, it could require tact, planning and an in-depth understanding of Michigan child custody law.

Source: Michigan Supreme Court, "Michigan Custody Guideline," accessed Dec. 21, 2017

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