“Can I move with my kids?”
Before you make the move, get the facts.

First, is there a current custody order or judgment in place?

a. If yes, then the domicile or residence of the child/children may not be moved from Michigan without the approval of the court where the order or judgment was entered. In petitioning the court for a change of domicile, you must show proper cause or a change of circumstances.

Unless any of the following exceptions apply under MCL 722.31(2)-(3):
i. The relocating parent has been granted sole legal custody;
ii. The parents’ residences were more than 100 miles apart when the legal action commenced;
iii. The move results in the residences being closer; or
iv. Both parents consent to the residence change. (Such consent must be as to a specific relocation and not one provided in general terms prior to a relocation plan.)

b. If no:
i. Will the non-relocating parent object?
1. If yes, will the move change the child’s Established Custodial Environment?
2. If no, obtain consent in writing (e-mail, text, print, etc.) and GO!

Michigan Sole Custody vs Joint Custody

In Michigan sole custody means that one parent has primary physical custody as well as legal custody of the child. Joint custody in Michigan means that parents could share one or both of physical and legal custody.

Legal custody of a child in Michigan is defined as a parent having the responsibility over major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, medical treatment, school enrollment, religious instruction and other similar matters.

Non-major decisions are to be made with the parent who has physical custody of the child in Michigan at the time that the decision is made. This means that the parent without legal custody of a child, may make certain decisions for the child while spending their parenting time.

Can child custody in Michigan be determined through the arbitration process? Am I entitled to access to information about my child in Michigan?

Yes, in Michigan non-custodial parents must not be denied access to records and information concerning their child unless that parent is specifically prohibited from having records by a protective order. These records may include records pertaining to school, medical, dental, day care and notification of meetings regarding the child’s schooling like a parent-teacher conference.

Are there limits in Michigan on moving with my child if I share custody with my former spouse?

Yes, Michigan law prohibits a parent of a child in a joint custody arrangement in Michigan from moving more than 100 miles away from the child’s legal residence at the time the custody order was issued. There are exceptions in Michigan cases such as the other parent agreeing or if the original residence was initially 100 or more miles away, and this move actually brings the child closer.

Yes, but an award concerning child support, custody and parenting time in Michigan is always subject to the review by a Michigan court, and can be vacated if the judge finds that the award is not in the best interest of the child.

Do I need to keep paying support if I’m being denied parenting time in Michigan?

Michigan courts have held that duty to make support payments may be suspended if parenting time is denied unless the suspension of payments would adversely affect the children.

The answer to this question is not clear, and one is strongly advised to speak to a Michigan family lawyer before taking action.

What is Michigan grand-parenting time, and how do I obtain it?

In Michigan, a presumption exists that a fit parent’s decision to deny grand-parenting time does not create a substantial risk of harm to the child. A grandparent in Michigan may need to petition for time with grandchildren if the parents are denying them access. To rebut this presumption, and win on the issue, the grandparent must prove by preponderance of the evidence that the parent’s decision to deny grand-parenting time creates a substantial risk of harm to the child’s mental, physical or emotional health.

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