The job market has been challenging in places like Michigan. Gone are safe, union jobs at many of the automobile manufacturing plants that used call the state home. With the end of nearly guaranteed employment this used to provide, many parents have to change jobs more frequently as companies close or are taken over by interests far away from Michigan.
But if you have been divorced and have custody or shared custody of your children, your ability to move to find work is limited. If you have to make a significant move, you may need to obtain a modification of your child custody order.
In Michigan, you are allowed to move up to 100-miles from your child’s legal residence without obtaining the permission of the court or your child’s other parent. However, depending on your custody arrangement, this could become a problem.
If you have custody during part of the week in the school year, it might be impossible to get them to school and back again if you need to move 75 miles away, especially given Michigan’s winters.
Even if you only had your child or children on every other weekend, such an arrangement could prove unwieldy and could provoke the other parent to file for sole custody or further limit your parenting time.
If your employment will require your relocation more than 100 miles from their legal residence or out-of-state, you will need to follow the statutory procedure, with involves either returning to court and receiving the court’s approval of such a change, or complying with the procedure in your existing custody order for change in residence, if you have such a provision in your existing order.
The court will examine five factors in making the determination, and you need to demonstrate to the court how the move will improve the child’s life experience and that it won’t impair the child’s relationship with the other parent.
Child relocations are very complex and should never be attempted without careful planning and many parents find it helpful to consult with a family law attorney before they begin this process.