Understanding Michigan Laws on Relocation with a Child Post-Divorce
Divorce is a challenging process, and when children are involved, it becomes even more complex. One of the issues that emerge after divorce is the matter of relocating with a child. In Michigan, this is governed by specific laws designed to balance the custodial parent's right to move with the best interests of the child and the rights of the non-custodial parent.
Legal Framework for Child Relocation in Michigan
In Michigan, the primary statute governing child relocation is MCL 722.31, also known as the '100 Mile Rule.' Under this law, a parent with legal custody of a child cannot relocate more than 100 miles from the child's original domicile without first obtaining consent from the other parent or a court order. This rule applies unless the moving parent has sole legal custody or if the other parent has already moved more than 100 miles from the original residence.
However, even when a parent has sole custody, if the move would change the child's school, they must still seek consent or a court order. The purpose of this law is to ensure that both parents maintain meaningful relationships with their children after divorce.
Factors Considered by Michigan Courts
When a custodial parent seeks to relocate and requires court approval, the court will consider several factors before making a decision. These include:
- The degree to which the move could improve the quality of life for both the custodial parent and the child.
- The motives of the custodial parent in seeking the move.
- The likelihood that a parenting time schedule could be established that allows the non-custodial parent to maintain a relationship with their child.
- The extent to which the non-custodial parent has exercised their parenting time rights in the past.
In addition to these factors, courts will always prioritize what is in the best interest of the child when making decisions about relocation.
Relocation Process and Notifications
A custodial parent who wishes to relocate with their child must provide notice to the other parent. This notice should be sent by registered mail and must be given at least 60 days before the proposed move. The non-custodial parent then has an opportunity to object to the relocation. If an objection is filed, it is up to a court to decide whether relocation can occur.
If there is no objection within 21 days after notice is given, then relocation can proceed without further legal process. However, if circumstances change, either parent can later seek modification of custody or parenting time orders from the court.
Navigating relocation after divorce is complex and requires careful consideration of Michigan laws. Both custodial and non-custodial parents must understand their rights and obligations regarding child relocation. It's advisable for parents to consult with family law attorneys who can provide guidance tailored to their individual circumstances and help ensure that any move complies with Michigan legal standards while serving the best interests of their children.