In the Michigan House of Representatives, a legislator has introduced a bill that could create significant changes for divorced parents. Proposed house bill 4845 is an amendment to the Child Custody Act of 1970, which poses relocation restrictions on a parent who wants to change the child’s legal residence. The current law states that when a child is residing with both parents, neither parent can move more than 100 miles away from the original residence when the court order was issued. The new legislation would change that distance to 50 miles as measured on a vehicle’s odometer.
If passed, HB 4845 would still include all the requirements currently necessary for a parent with shared custody to move but apply the shorter distance of 50 miles or more. For example, the parent who wants to move would still need to get the approval of the other parent before the relocation could take place. When the child’s other parent does not approve, the one wanting to relocate would have to go to court, where a judge would determine whether the move is in the best interests of the child. Factors considered include the following:
- Potential for improved quality of life
- Closeness of family members after the move
- Effects on other parent’s time with the child
A parent who is relocating because of a threat of domestic violence would still be allowed to make a move to a safe place until a new court order could be issued. If the parent who is making the move has sole legal custody, this law would not apply because there is no need to seek approval from the other parent or the court system in this case.