Michigan Change of Domicile: When a New Job or Remarriage Requires a Parent to Move

It's not unusual for divorced parents to remarry or one parent to be offered a new job that might make it necessary to move the children covered by a Michigan child custody order more than a 100 miles from their current legal residence. When this type of situation develops, both parents may need to speak with lawyers - in hopes of either keeping the governing custody order the way it currently reads - or having it modified. [ See MCL 722.31 (1)]

General Factors Courts Must Consider When One Parent Seeks to Change a Child's Residence

According to MCL 722.31(4), Michigan courts may allow one parent to change a child's legal residence (to a new one more than 100 miles away or out of state) if it's satisfied after five potential factors have been evaluated. Courts must start the process by making the following inquiries:

•1. Will the move "[possibly] improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent"?

•2. Have both parents, prior to the current request, stayed actively involved with the children and abided by the court's current orders? Also, is the current request, by any chance, being made to further frustrate one parent's efforts to stay connected with the children?

•3. Is the court satisfied that modifying the current child custody order will still allow both parents to remain significantly involved with the children? In other words, will modifying the order "provide an adequate basis for preserving and fostering the parental relationship between the child and each parent?"

•4. Is the party opposing the change in the custody order doing so mainly to gain some type of advantage in regards to support obligations?

•5. Is domestic violence part of the reason why one ex-spouse seeks to move, regardless of whether that violence was directed at the children or ever witnessed by the children?

Depending on the circumstances involved, the court will make a determination if the motion will be granted. Should you need to request a custody order modification due to a new job offer, remarriage, or another valid reason, be sure to speak with your Michigan family law attorney about all of your concerns. There's always a chance that something beneficial can be agreed upon. Contact the Oakland County experienced child custody modification attorney Michael A. Robbins to schedule an initial consultation.