Modifying custody orders if the non-custodial parent has to move states


child custody move statesI have a child custody question regarding moving to another state. My ex-wife technically has physical custody of our son, but he has been living with me since she kicked him out of her house.

I have been offered a job in another state, and my son wants to come live with me though his mother wants him to stay in town, just not at her house.

What do I need to do to modify custody orders so that my child can relocate to another state with me?


In Michigan (where I practice), after a child custody order is entered, neither parent can move the child’s residence more than 100 miles, or out of state, without the Court’s permission. Hence, whether your ex-wife agrees to the move or not, you will still need to obtain the Court’s permission to take your son with you.

To obtain the Court’s permission you must file a motion with the Court to modify custody, based on your desire to move out of state, and based on the fact that you now appear to be exercising physical custody of your son after he was thrown out of your ex-wife’s home.

The Court will look at a number of factors in deciding whether to modify the custody order and allow the move, including:

a) The love, affection, and other emotional ties existing between the parties involved and the child.

b) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to give the child love, affection, and guidance and the continuation of the education and raising of the child in his or her religion or creed, if any.

c) The capacity and disposition of the parties involved to provide the child with food, clothing, medical care, or other remedial care recognized and permitted under the laws of this state in place of medical care, and other material needs.

d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability of maintaining continuity.

e) The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home or homes.

f) The moral fitness of the parties involved.

g) The mental and physical health of the parties involved.

h) The home, school, and community record of the child.

i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court considers the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.

j) The willingness and ability of each of the parties to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship between the child and the other parent or the child and the parents.

k) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed at or witnessed by the child.

l) Any other factor considered by the court to be of relevance to a particular child custody dispute.

With regard to the relocation, the Court will also consider your motives for relocating, if a realistic visitation schedule can be arranged with the other parents, and if the move will substantially affect your child’s quality of life.

Once the motion is filed and served on your ex-wife, the Court will make determination regarding the relocation of your son based on the above considerations.

Please note that I am not able to give you custody advice without having thoroughly reviewed your case, and therefore you should not rely on this information as an establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

If you need detailed information or advice, or wish to take specific action in this matter, you need to contact an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients and nationwide.

To schedule an appointment with Tamara Hoffstatter, an attorney in the Troy, Michigan, office of Cordell & Cordell, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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