In Michigan, a joint legal custodial parent cannot move more than 100 miles or out of the state of Michigan without the consent of the other parent or court approval. Change of domicile motions are arguably the most emotionally difficult cases we handle. It often feels like Mom cares very little about how the move (often motivated by a relationship or job) will damage the relationship between good and involved Dad and his child(ren). For our clients it is common for them to feel like they were kicked in the gut. If you feel that way, remember you can’t lose your head and you may have the law on your side.
If you are not willing to agree to the move she must prove her case based on the factors provided in MCL 722.31 (4):
(a) Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent.
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(d) 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.
(e) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
At Shaw Law Group, we regularly defend against these motions. We have had the most success when we have been able to show that a child would be better off by staying in Michigan. If this cannot be established, we work hard to ensure that our clients get as much parenting time as possible, do not pay more travel expenses than necessary, and are not overcharged for support.
If you are faced with this type of action, it is important to seek legal counsel immediately. The ADAM attorneys at Shaw Law Group, PLC have defended and defeated numerous requests to move and invite you to call us to discuss your case.