Child Custody: The "100-Mile Rule"

 

 

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"The 100-Mile Leash"

By Marian L. Faupel

It is well known that children can become lifelong victims of their parents’ divorce. Where the parents work hard to minimize conflict and remain involved in their children’s lives, the damage can be avoided or contained. Where parents continue their conflicts after the divorce — and where the custodial parent moves a significant distance from the other parent, children can experience a profound loss of contact with and relationship to the other parent.

A few years ago, the Michigan Courts decided Dehring v Dehring, 220 Mich App 163 (1996). In that case, one parent moved to the other side of the state with the child but remained in the state. If the mother had wanted to move to Toledo, Ohio or “interstate,” she would have been required to obtain a court order. She would have had to convince the court that her motives for the move were to better her life and the child’s life and that she could provide the father with meaningful parenting time. The court would also consider whether the parties’ respective positions were based on an intent to increase or avoid child support. Under Dehring, no court order is required for an “intrastate” move and therefore no consideration is given to the effects on the child and the other parent. Mom can just move even though the parties were awarded “joint custody.”

There has been a major backlash to the Dehring decision since l996 when it was handed down. Senate Bill l244, was introduced by Sen. Bill Bullard, Jr. to the Child Custody Act to prohibit a child’s parents from changing the child’s residence to a new location more than l00 miles from where the child lived at the time of the divorce if the parents were awarded joint custody. That bill was passed into law. There are exceptions to the statute if the parties agree to the move, if the move brings the parties closer to one another, if the court has awarded sole custody to the parent, or if the child lives more than l00 miles away from the non-custodial parent at the time of the divorce. If none of these exceptions applies, the court holds an evidentiary hearing.

At the evidentiary hearing, the parent proposing the move would has to prove -- as in the Dehring case — that the move would result in a better life for that parent and the child. The court also considers the extent to which the objecting parent had exercised his/her parenting time to date. The court finally considers whether the moving parent wants to increase his/her child support by decreasing the other parent’s parenting time and whether there is or has been domestic violence in the case (which might have precipitated the need to move).

Word to the wise — Exercise your parenting time. Crusade for joint legal custody if you believe that is in your child’s best interests. In most of these cases, the past comes back to haunt a parent or to benefit him/her — so the days since your judgment of divorce was entered are just as important as the days before.

 


Included through specific permission of Marian L. Faupel. Posted to Divorce Peers on April 19, 2005.

Contact information: Faupel & Associates, 2452 East Stadium Boulevard, Suite 301, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104; 734.677.0776; <click here to eMail>.

 

► List of Divorce Court resources: Rule of Law

"The Messy (Legal) Steps of Divorce"
"Three Levels of Divorce"
After Your Judgment of Divorce
Attorneys' Roles in Mediation
Child Custody and the "100-Mile Rule"
Divorce Court - Analysis of "Best Interests of the Minor Child"
Divorce Court - Legal Divorce Process
Divorce Court - Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL)
Divorce Court - Michigan Court Rules (MCR), pro per advice
Divorce Court - Michigan Friend of the Court Bureau
Divorce Court - Michigan: One Court of Justice
Divorce Court - Property division precedents
Eavesdropping between Divorced Parents
One Mediator's Life as a Parent
Title to Property: Words Determine Rights

 

► List of all Divorce Court resources

"The Messy (Legal) Steps of Divorce"
After Your Judgment of Divorce
Attorneys' Roles in Mediation
Child Custody and the "100-Mile Rule"
Divorce Court - "Forget Me Not" Program for Never Married Parents
Divorce Court - "Reasonable" Parenting Time, Defined
Divorce Court - "SMILE" Program Description, Advice
Divorce Court - Analysis of "Best Interests of the Minor Child"
Divorce Court - Legal Divorce Process
Divorce Court - Mediation Overview
Divorce Court - Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL)
Divorce Court - Michigan Compiled Laws (MCL)
Divorce Court - Michigan Court Rules (MCR), pro per advice
Divorce Court - Michigan Friend of the Court Bureau
Divorce Court - Michigan: One Court of Justice
Divorce Court - Parenting Time Make-Up Policy
Divorce Court - Property division precedents
Divorce statistics - Michigan Divorces, Wayne County (MI)
Eavesdropping between Divorced Parents
In Favor of Mediation
One Mediator's Life as a Parent
Title to Property: Words Determine Rights
Why Not Date During Divorce?

 


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