Relocation & Change of Domicile

Michigan Family Law Attorney – (248) 467-8208

If you went through a divorce as a parent and now have co-parenting responsibilities due to the outcome of your child custody agreement, you are limited to where you can move due to Michigan’s relocation laws. Before you start packing up your things to go to a new town, county, or state, make certain you are within your legal rights to do so by requesting a modification through the court. If your ex-spouse is thinking of moving far away, you may also need legal counsel to ensure they are not overstepping your rights.

The Badalucco Firm and our divorce lawyer in Michigan can help you fully understand your rights and legal responsibilities. When a move is necessary in your life, we can help you through the legal process of having it approved by the court. Tell us about what is going on during a free 30-minute consultation.

Michigan’s 100-Mile Rule of Relocation

The state of Michigan allows co-parents the ability to freely move wherever they want so long as they do not move more than 100 miles away from the child’s legal residence, or so long as they do not leave the state. In other words, you and your ex-spouse need to live within 100 miles of each other, or else there could be legal complications. The 100 mile restriction is not necessarily based on road miles, but rather “as the crow flies”, otherwise known as radial miles.

If you need to move 100.1 miles or more away from your ex-spouse with co-parenting rights, the court needs to give you approval first. Obtaining your ex’s consent will almost guarantee that the court will approve of your move. Should your ex-spouse have reason to object to your relocation, such as “I don’t have time to drive that far for visitation,” you have to show that the move is both necessary and in your child’s best interests. In fact, even if you move less than 100 miles, you may need to inform the court and possibly obtain agreement from the other parent. Why? Because school decisions are likely impacted and sharing joint legal custody means sharing in that decision too.

The court will be asking these questions when coming to its decision:

  • Will the move help you – the moving parent – and your child in a significant way?
  • Has either parent not upheld parenting time and custody rights thus far?
  • Is the move proposed solely out of spite against the other parent?
  • If the move is permitted, will both parents uphold the visitation and custody schedules?
  • Is domestic violence a contributing factor to the desire to move away?
  • If the move is for employment, will it actually be gainful employment?

Exceptions to the 100-Mile Rule

As with any aspect of family law, there are certain exceptions to the 100-mile relocation rule in Michigan. If any of these exceptions are present, you may move where you please with your child without first needing the court’s approval.

The two primary exceptions to the relocation restriction are:

  1. Initial distance: If you and your ex already lived more than 100 miles apart when your divorce was finalized, you are not restricted by the 100-mile rule, as it is assumed that such a distance is not a factor either of you consider to be unreasonable.
  2. Domestic violence: After you or your child are subjected to domestic violence or abuse, you can move as far away as you deem necessary for your safety. But beware: allegations of domestic violence must be demonstrated clearly to the Court for it to agree with your choice to move. If you do not go through the proper channels first, you may find the opposite results and you then have to prove to the court that your actions were justified. Typically, therefore, it is better to file an emergency motion with the court and ask permission beforehand than to move and beg forgiveness afterward.

Contact Us When It is Time to Go

When you need to relocate further away from your ex-spouse than ever before, talk to our Michigan divorce attorney first. Our firm is here to make certain you do not overstep your legal boundaries while also doing everything we can to promote your needs and best interests. Contact us today and ask about getting your complimentary 30-minute consultation.