Change Of Domicile

Moving Within Michigan

The 100-Mile Rule

The 100-mile rule may help you if you oppose the other parent’s move. It requires the other parent to get the judge’s permission to move the child more than 100 miles from where you lived when your family law case started.

The “100-mile rule” applies to your case unless one of four exceptions exists (see below). The 100-mile rule works both ways. You would also need the judge’s permission to move your child, even if your child spends most of his or her time with the other parent.

The 100-mile rule applies UNLESS:

  • The other parent has sole legal custody;
  • You agree to the move and sign a written stipulation;
  • You and the other parent were already living more than 100 miles apart when your family law case started; or
  • The other parent’s new home will be closer to your residence than before the move.

How the Judge Decides Whether to Allow the Move

After the other parent files a motion to change your child’s residence, there will be a hearing. At the hearing, the judge will consider whether:

  1. The move will improve the other parent’s and your child’s quality of life;
  2. The other parent is using the move to limit your parenting time;
  3. New parenting time arrangements will allow you and your child to maintain a similar relationship;
  4. You are fighting against the move just to pay less child support;
  5. The other parent is moving to escape domestic violence.

The Best Interests of the Child

The judge may also consider the best interests of the child factors before deciding whether to allow the other parent to move with the child. Read the section below (“The Best Interests of the Child Factors”) for more about when this would happen and what it means.

Moving Outside Michigan

When the Domicile Rule Applies

All Michigan custody orders must state that the child’s domicile or residence can’t be moved from Michigan without the judge’s approval. This applies if you have sole or joint custody. It applies even if you agree to the other parent’s move.

If your child is being moved out of Michigan, the other parent is supposed to file a motion to get the judge’s approval before moving. It doesn’t matter if the other parent is moving 25 miles away or 2,500 miles away.

How the Judge Decides Whether to Allow the Move

The other parent must file a motion to ask for the judge’s permission to move your child out of Michigan. You have the opportunity to respond to the motion. What the judge does next will depend on the custody order in your case:

  • If the other parent has sole legal custody, the judge must grant the motion. The judge doesn’t need to consider the 100-mile rule factors.
  • If you have joint legal custody, there will be a hearing. At the hearing the judge will consider the five factors listed above (the 100-mile rule factors) to decide whether to allow the move. The factors apply even if the proposed move is less than 100 miles away. The judge may also consider the best interests of the child factors before deciding whether to allow your move. Read the section directly below (“The Best Interests of the Child Factors”) for more about when this would happen and what it means.

The Best Interests of the Child Factors

If the judge decides the five factors favor the other parent’s move, the judge must then look at whether the move would affect custody. If the move requires a big change in parenting time, the judge might decide the move would cause a change in custody. If so, the judge must decide if the change is in your child’s best interests. At a hearing, both you and your child’s other parent will have the chance to explain why the move would or wouldn’t be good for your child.

For a best interests decision, the judge considers the best interests of the child factors. The burden of proof is higher. This means the other parent needs more evidence that the new parenting time arrangements would be good for your child. To learn more about changes in custody and the best interests factors, read the Custody and Parenting Time and The “Best Interests of the Child” Factors articles.