Moving in Michigan With Children
Most divorce judgments, many support orders, and orders of filiation have a paragraph in them regarding changing the domicile of a minor
child. The domicile is the legal residence of the minor child. The paragraph states that parents must seek the court's permission before
they can move out of state or move away more than 100 miles from the child's legal residence with a minor child even if the parties are in
agreement with the move.
According to Michigan Court Rule 30211(c)(1), "The order or judgment awarding custody of a child must provide that the domicile or residence
of the child may not be moved from Michigan without the approval of the judge who awarded custody or the judge's successor." Court approval
can be obtained in two ways: by stipulation and agreement by the parties, or absent an agreement between the parties by filing a motion with
the court and requesting a hearing.
Change of Domicile is governed by MCL 722.31
A child whose parental custody is governed by court order has, for the purposes of this section, a legal residence with each
parent. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a parent of a child whose custody is governed by court order shall not
change a legal residence of the child to a location that is more than 100 miles from the child’s legal residence at the time of
the commencement of the action in which the order is issued.
A parent’s change of a child’s legal residence is not restricted by subsection (1) if the other parent consents to, or if the
court, after complying with subsection (4) permits, the residence change. This section does not apply if the order governing
the child’s custody grants sole legal custody to one of the child’s parents.
This section does not apply if, at the time of the commencement of the action in which the custody order is issued, the child’s
two residences were more than 100 miles apart. This section does not apply if the legal residence change results in the child’s
two legal residences being closer to each other than before the change.
Before permitting a legal residence change otherwise restricted by subsection (1), the court shall consider each of the following
factors, with the child as the primary focus in the court’s deliberations:
Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating
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.
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.
The extent to which the parent opposing the legal residence change is motivated by a desire to secure a financial advantage
with respect to a support obligation.
Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
Each order determining or modifying custody or parenting time of a child shall include a provision stating the
parent’s agreement as to how a change in either of the child’s legal residences will be handled. If such a provision is
included in the order and a child’s legal residence change is done in compliance with that provision, this section does not
apply. If the parents do not agree on such a provision, the court shall include in the order the following
provision: “A parent whose custody or parenting time of a child is governed by this order shall not change the legal
residence of the child except in compliance with section 11 of the
“Child Custody Act of 1970”, 1970 PA 91, MCL 722.31.”
If this section applies to a change of a child’s legal residence and the parent seeking to change that legal
residence needs to seek 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 this section.