When parents in Michigan break up or divorce, they have to figure out a way to co-parent following the end of their relationship. Typically, you will either negotiate an arrangement with one another and submit it to the Michigan family courts or ask a judge to create one.
A lot of challenges can arise when you share custody after the end of your romantic relationship with the other parent, not the least of which is a significant divergence in your plans for the future. They may start looking into opportunities far from where you currently live.
Can your ex simply pack up the children and leave the state if you have a parenting plan that grants you shared custody or visitation rights?
Either you or the courts need to approve the move.
Your parenting plan likely already addresses the possibility of a move-away scenario as parenting plans often include specific limitations on a parental move. Even if they do not, state law addresses this issue. Typically, any move that is far enough away to affect visitation or out of the state will require special consideration.
The parent hoping to move with the children will need to send written notice to the other parent and the family courts of their intentions. If the other parent does not agree with the suggestion because they believe it will interfere with their parenting time, they can respond in writing to the request and express their concerns. At that point, the parents will likely need to prepare for a hearing in family court.
A judge will review the situation and determine if the move would be in the best interests of the children or not. If they approve the move, they will modify your custody order to reflect the new living situation and will likely adjust your custody arrangements to better facilitate your relationship with the children despite the distance between you. If they do not approve the move, you may receive more parenting time, especially if the other parent moves without the children.
When you face a relocation request that could affect your relationship with your children, a timely response will be key to protecting your bond with the kids. Learning more about Michigan’s shared custody rules will help those worried about the future of their custody arrangements.