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With child custody, when must a judge grant approval to relocate?

With Michigan child custody cases one problem that can come up is if the custodial parent wants to relocate with the child. The custodial parent can move to another location with the child should he or she choose to do so, but there are two exceptions to that rule. Understanding how to handle these complex situations is integral to resolving them.

The first exception is if the court order that granted child custody is required to state that the custodial parent cannot change the child's residence to somewhere out of state unless the judge grants approval for it. The second exception is if the court order that gives custody or parenting time stipulates that there cannot be a move of more than 100 miles away from the previous residence unless the judge grants approval.

Parents are not obligated to request approval from the judge should they want to move to another location in Michigan in the following circumstances: the other parent agrees to allow the move; the judge has granted sole custody to one of the parents; the parents' residences were already separated by 100 miles when the decision on child custody was made; or the move will result in the residences being closer together than they were previously. When moving to another state, the 100-mile rule does not apply as there must be approval regardless of the distance.

A parent can seek judicial approval in two ways. First, the parent can request to be allowed to move with the other parent agreeing to it and the judge subsequently approving. Second, if the parents cannot agree on the move, the parent will need to file a formal request -- a motion -- requesting the judge's approval. Reasons why the judge should approve the move must be listed. The judge can have a hearing to listen to both sides of the dispute. Various factors will be taken into consideration including the best interests of the child, where the child will live, if parenting time will be affected and more.

Parents who share a child and are no longer together as a couple will need to coordinate with one another with regards to raising their child. If there is an attempt to relocate, it can be a source of disagreement. Fortunately, legal options exist to help both custodial parents and noncustodial parents protect their rights with regards to their child.

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