Can I move if I am involved in a Divorce or Custody Matter?

Something that people may not think of at the time they are involved in a custody or divorce case in Michigan involving minor children is moving in the future.  Can you move? Can your ex-spouse move? What if you do not have an agreement?

There are two statutes that control moving in Michigan.  The first is regarding how far a parent may move.  According to MCL 722.31 “a parent of a child whose custody is governed by court order shall not change a legal residence of the child to a location that is more than 100 miles from the child’s legal residence at the time of the commencement of the action in which the order is issued.”    This is unless the move makes the parties actually live closer to each other or the other party consents.  If the party who wishes to move does not meet the requirements, they must request a hearing from the court to determine if they may move, or in legal terms- may they change the child’s “domicile.”


The other statute states that neither party may move a child out of the state of Michigan.  Interestingly, even if you live along the Michigan border, and Ohio is close and less than 100 miles away, you still need court permission or the other parties’ permission to move.  Now of course, a small move is much more likely to be granted, but don’t make the mistake of unilaterally moving your children!


So, the lesson to be learned here, is that in most cases, a parent can move if they have custody, but there may be restrictions, and they may need permission from the Court.  The court will examine a variety of factors, including whether the move is motivated by money, whether there is a way to continue the parent child relationship with the parent who is being moved away from, and other related issues.  You do not want to try to tackle this issue alone, as the Court can be very specific about examining the relevant factors.


If you have any other questions about moving or changing domicile in Michigan, call our office today and speak to a Michigan custody and divorce lawyer about it, or if your children’s other parent has requested Court permission to move, call us at 313-945-9050.  

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