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Michigan’s 100-Mile Rule on Moving Children After Divorce

In a divorce, child custody and visitation arrangements are set based on the circumstances at the time. That usually means the spouses are in close enough physical proximity to allow their child to share time with each of them. But what happens if you or your spouse need or desire to move a significant distance away? How will the two of you continue to co-parent following the relocation?

In Michigan, the law considers it in the child’s best interest to have as much contact as possible with both parents. Part of accomplishing this goal is to impose the “100-Mile Rule,” which means that a parent who shares custody with an ex-spouse can’t move with their child farther than 100 miles away without getting the court’s permission. Even a move of less than 100 miles can cause a dispute over relocation if the increased distance makes it tough to stay in full compliance with the current custody and visitation plan.

In any case where one parent challenges a proposed relocation, the parties will need court approval. When courts in Michigan consider child relocation requests, they consider:

  • If the move will result in a better quality of life for the child as well as for the parent who is moving.
  • The reason for the relocation. Is the parent moving for work purposes or family obligations, or is the move just an excuse to deprive the other parent of visitation?
  • Whether each parent has been in compliance with the current custody agreement and order, as this can indicate the likelihood of future compliance if the court modifies the order.
  • If there is any evidence of a desire to leverage child support as a reason for objecting to the relocation.
  • Any incidents of domestic violence carried out against the child or while the child was present.

If the parties already lived over 100 miles apart under their current custody order, the relocating parent doesn’t need the court’s okay to move as long as they remain within Michigan’s borders and no other objections are raised. If the parent plans to relocate out of state, they must get the court’s permission.

If you are contemplating a move, or your spouse has notified you of their intention to move with your child, a Michigan child custody lawyer can represent you in the modification request. At Shatzman & Shatzman, we serve individuals throughout Shelby Township, Chesterfield Township and the greater Detroit area. To schedule your free consultation, call 586-800-3018 or contact us online.