Understanding Relocation And Your Parental Rights

In the current economic climate, many unemployed Michigan parents have been forced to accept new job opportunities out of state. When a parent needs to move out of state, however, Michigan law requires court approval, and there are important impacts on child support, child custody and visitation that must be considered.

If you have joint legal custody, your order from the family court will need to be modified. In Michigan, in most cases, a parent may not move a child under 18 years out of state or more than 100 miles away without the permission of either the child's other parent or the court.

Whether you need to move away or your child's other parent wants to move, call Kraayeveld Law Offices, P.C., in Grand Rapids at 616-426-9644 for a consultation. Our attorneys have more than 30 years of combined experience in divorce and family law. We can help you resolve the issues of parent-child relocation in a way that is positive for your relationship and in the best interest of your child.

Requesting The Court's Permission For Relocation And Change To Your Parenting Order

If you need to move more than 100 miles away with your child, you will need to file a request with the family court. This process is called a "change of domicile". First, your attorney will file a motion for change of domicile.

After the motion is filed, the court will hold a hearing to consider what is in the best interest of the children. It will take important issues into account such as:

  • Does the move have the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the custodial parent and the child?
  • Is the move intended to limit visitation by the other parent? Is the custodial parent likely to comply with the new visitation order once he or she moves out of the jurisdiction?
  • Is the noncustodial parent resisting the move in order to limit his or her child support obligations?
  • Will there be a realistic opportunity for visitation by the noncustodial parent so that the parental relationship can be preserved?

Our lawyers have extensive experience in presenting relocation petitions to the court, and in opposing relocation where appropriate. We can negotiate with your ex-spouse on your behalf, which will preserve your relationship with your child.

Courts seek to preserve children's relationships with both of their parents. They recognize the practical barriers a move can place on those relationships, and seek to find ways to overcome those barriers. They may consider:

  • Preserving an equivalent parenting time schedule for the noncustodial parent
  • Transportation costs to and from the custodial parent's out-of-state home
  • Time the children will have to spend traveling
  • Academic standards in the new school district

Relocation can bring up many difficult practical issues as well as emotional ones. Whatever your situation, we are here to provide you with professional, compassionate assistance. Contact us for a confidential appointment.