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Relocating With Your Child After a Divorce: Understanding the 100-Mile Rule

After a divorce, you are finally ready to move on with your life. You have some freedom now that you did not have before, including the option of moving to a new home. If you have children with your former spouse and are subject to a child custody order, there are legal limits on how far away you can move.

Under prior Michigan law, custodial parents could move with their child so long as they remained within the state. They needed court permission to move out of state, even if the out-of-state move would be a lesser distance than an in-state move. To address this irregularity, the Michigan legislature enacted what is known as the “100-mile rule.” The rule means that the child generally cannot be relocated more than 100 miles from the original legal residence without consent of the other parent or court approval. The original legal residence is set at the time of the divorce or child custody action.

The 100-mile rule applies in your case unless one of the following exceptions is true:

  • You have sole legal custody of your child.
  • The other parent consents to the move.
  • You and the other parent already lived more than 100 miles apart when the case commenced.

If the 100-mile rule applies, the court must consider several factors to determine whether to approve your requested move. The court will hold a hearing and will consider the following legal factors in making its decision:

  • Whether the move will improve the parent’s and child’s quality of life
  • Whether both parents have honored the parenting time provisions in the court order
  • Whether you are requesting the move to limit the other parent’s time with the child
  • Whether the other parent is fighting the request simply to pay less child support
  • Whether you are moving to prevent domestic violence by the other parent
  • Whether the move will permit the child to keep a similar relationship with their other parent

You must ask the court’s permission before you move except in cases where you move to escape domestic violence. Only in that scenario may you move first and request permission at a later time.

Parents granted permission to move beyond the 100-mile orbit must still honor court-ordered or agreed-upon parenting time arrangements. Just because you move does not change the parenting time the other parent is entitled to. If you both agree to the move, make sure to have an experienced child custody attorney draft a consent agreement so there can be no dispute later about this issue.

At Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights, we represent Michigan parents in all aspects of child custody cases, including removal requests. Contact us online or call 833-671-4445 for a free initial consultation.

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    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314
    Phone: 586-731-7400
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