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Can a custodial parent relocate with the children?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2023 | CUSTODY & VISITATION - Child Custody

There could be multiple reasons for needing to relocate. You may need to move for work opportunities, familial ties or a better home. Regardless, if you are the mother or father with physical custody of your children, you may need to consider a specific rule under Michigan law before deciding to relocate.

The 100-mile rule

The “100-mile rule” is a guideline in Michigan child custody law. Under that guideline, custodial parents cannot move with their children more than 100 miles from their current legal residence. This rule applies even if the parent wants to move within Michigan. It intends to ensure that noncustodial parents maintain their ability to visit and spend time with their children without disrupting their lives.

There are certain scenarios where the rule might not apply, such as:

  • If, at the time the custody order was issued, the two parents’ homes were already more than 100 miles apart
  • If it could potentially improve the child’s and the moving parent’s quality of life
  • If the parent-child relationship can still be maintained, even with the increased distance

Like all custody issues, the court’s primary concern is the child’s best interest. The move might or might not boost the child’s well-being. In any case, before the court allows a parent to move the child more than 100 miles away, it must consider several things, all focused on how it could benefit the child.

The custody order

Every custody order should include a plan for handling a potential move. If no plan exists, the court will step in and include a specific statement in the order that enforces the 100-mile rule. Usually, you can only relocate your child with the court’s approval or the other parent’s complete agreement. As a parent, you must consider all factors and understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to moving a child.

As long as you go through the necessary steps before relocating, you can avoid undesired outcomes, such as a change in custody arrangements in extreme cases.