Change of Domicile

content13_1Domicile of Minor Children. Under current Michigan law, minor children have a legal residence with each parent and a move more than 100 miles from either parent or from their current legal residence is prohibited without court permission or permission of both parties. If the parties do not consent to the move that would otherwise be restricted by the 100 mile rule, the trial court must consider five factors before allowing a parent to relocate with the child as the primary focus in the deliberations: (a) Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent. (b) The degree to which each parent has complied with and utilized his or her time under a court order governing parenting time with the child and whether the parent’s plan to change the child’s legal residence is inspired by that parent’s desire to defeat or frustrate the parenting time schedule. (c) The degree to which the court is satisfied that if the court permits the legal residence change it is possible to order a modification of the parenting time schedule and other arrangements governing the child’s schedule in a manner that can provide an adequate basis for preserving and fostering the parental relationship between the child and each parent; and whether each parent is likely to comply with the modification. (d) The extent to which the parent opposing the legal residence change is motivated by a desire to secure a final advantage with respect to a support obligation. (e) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

There are four exceptions to the 100 mile move away rule: (1) When the order governing the child’s custody grants sole legal custody to one of the child’s parents. (2) When the child’s two residences were more than 100 miles apart at the time of commencement of the action or the proposed move would result in their being closer together. (3) When the custody order contains the parents own agreement as to how a change in either of the child’s legal residences will be handled and the proposed move complies with that agreement. (4) When the parent seeking to change the legal residence needs a safe location from the threat of domestic violence. The parent may move to such a location with the child until the court makes a determination under the statute.