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Consequences of relocation in child custody cases

Being passed from one parent to another to satisfy child custody agreements can cause some stress for children of divorced parents in Michigan. When one parent relocates to a different state, there are additional psychological consequences that can result in long-term issues.  

According to the Michigan Courts, permission from the judge is required for parents who want to relocate and keep custody of the child. A judge typically grants this request easily if the other parent agrees and signs a consent form. If there is not an agreement, the parent wanting to move needs to file a court motion requesting permission to relocate.   

Even with agreement from the other parent, Psychology Today reports that long distance can result in adverse consequences for the children. Studies show that moving even an hour away can cause havoc on their emotional, psychological and physical health as well as their overall satisfaction in life. These consequences are even more pronounced in younger children.

Parents who are considering a move may want to follow recommended guidelines to keep the negative effects to a minimum. First, it is a good idea to wait until the child is at least three years old, as language and cognitive skills are more developed. Parents should develop parenting plans that include frequent use of communication tools such as telephone calls, texting, web cameras and emails. Children also fair better when their parents maintain good coordination, flexibility, creativity and communication between them and take advantage of support services such as mediation and counseling.


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