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Can I move with the children after a divorce?

As you move on from the previous chapter of your life, your circumstances are bound to change and you may find yourself wanting to live somewhere else. Maybe you were offered a job elsewhere or you want to be closer to extended family. Before you can move with the children, though, you need to go through the process of requesting relocation.

Do you need permission to move?

Whether or not you need a judge’s approval to relocate will depend on the nature of the move. If you are moving out of the state or you are moving at least 100 miles away and share joint custody of the children, you need court permission. You must request permission before you move so that court has time to examine your situation and inform the other parent.

You do not need court permission if you have sole custody of the children, if you already lived 100 miles away from the other parent or if you are moving closer to the other parent’s residence. If the other parent accepts the move and you both sign a written agreement, you do not need a judge’s permission.

How does court decide if the move is acceptable?

If you are seeking relocation, you will need to explain your reasons and prove that the move is in your children’s best interests. This could include factors such as:

  • Does it affect their school life?
  • Does it affect their social connections?
  • Will it affect visitation time/relationship with the other parent?
  • Will the move affect their quality of life?
  • Do the benefits outweigh the negative impacts of the move?

Court may also investigate any ill-will behind the relocation. Moving away just to spite the other parent is not a valid reason to move.

What if I’m in a domestic abuse situation?

There are exceptions to every rule. If you or your kids are victims of domestic violence, you may request relocation permission after you move. The main priority is to get you and your kids to a safe place.

Although you will still need approval to remain at your new residence, court will take instances of abuse into high consideration when examining the reasons and effects of relocation.

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Bebout, Potere, Cox & Bennion, P.C.
821 North Main Street
Rochester, MI 48307

Phone: 248-805-1959
Fax: 248-651-8923
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