5 Factors Considered for Relocation in Child Custody

Relocating to another state or more than 100 miles from the current address of your children current address is referred to as change of domicile in the courts. It can be a very complex and emotionally charged issue especially if parents have difficulty agreeing to the custody and parenting time of their children.

People value the time they spend with their children. The thought that their children will move can be overwhelming. Whether you are the parent who wants to

move away with your children, or you are the parent trying to prevent the relocation, you need an experienced attorney working for you.

If you have custody and parenting time order in place, you cannot move out of state with your children without a court order or the agreement of the other parent. These are the same requirements if you want to move within Michigan but to another state that is more than 100 miles from the current residence of the children.

It is crucial that you comply with Michigan law if you want to relocate. Below are the factors that the court considers before permitting a legal residence change. As always, the child is the primary focus in the court’s deliberations:

1. Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent.

2. The degree to which each parent has complied with, and utilized his or her time under a court order governing parenting time with the child. They also want to know whether the plan of the parent to change the legal residence of the child is inspired because he or she wants to defeat or frustrate the parenting time schedule.

Questions asked include:

Have both parents complied to the orders of the court regarding the time they spend with their child?

Is either parent disagreeing with the relocation for personal reasons rather than considering what is best for the child?

3. The degree to which the court is satisfied that, if the court permits the legal residence change, it is possible to order a modification of the parenting time schedule and other arrangements governing the schedule of the child in a manner that can provide an adequate basis for preserving and fostering the parental relationship between the child and each parent; and whether each parent is likely to comply with the modification. For instance, once the child has moved, the court wants to know will both parents willingly reschedule their parenting time and make the effort to preserve the relationship the child has with both parents.

4. The extent to which the parent opposing the legal residence change is motivated by a desire to secure a financial advantage with respect to a support obligation. In other words, is the parent who opposes the relocation doing so to require more financial support?

5. Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child. The court will find out if there are there any reports of domestic violence about either parent.

In those cases when the court does approve a change of domicile, the continuing relationship between the parents and the child can easily become more difficult. That is not to say that it is possible to sustain the relationship with the parent left behind as long as that parent has substantial parenting time. It does require an effort for both parents to make the adjustment.

If the parents agree to a change of domicile they can sign a written agreement that becomes a court order. This eliminates a need for court intervention and court hearings. On the other hand, if one spouse does not agree to a spouse relocating with their children to another state or somewhere in Michigan that is more than 100 miles from the current residence of their children, it is likely that both parents will need the counsel of a competent and respected family law attorney to represent their best interests especially if you are the one who wants the children to stay in Michigan.