Change of Domicile
Moving with Your Children

“Can I move with my kids?”  Before you make the move, get the facts:

Established Custodial Environment

Definition: The custodial environment of a child is established if over an appreciable amount of time the child naturally looks to the custodian in that environment for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort. The age of the child, the physical environment, and the inclination of the custodian and the child as to the permanency of the relationship shall also be considered. MCL 722.27(1)(c).

If YES, the move could potentially uproot the child/children from the place they consider “home”, then you must demonstrate to the court that the move is in the best interests of the minor children. The court requires clear and convincing evidence (i.e. evidence which substantially makes it more likely than not that the move is in the best interests of the children.

CLICK HERE to read more about the “Best Interest Analysis”

If NO, your circumstances are such that the child hasn’t lived in their current residence for an appreciable amount of time, e.g. 6 months, or are not provided with guidance, discipline, the necessities of life (food, clothing, a proper bed, etc.), and parental comfort, then you must demonstrate to the court that the move is appropriate by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e. less evidence than is required if there is an Established Custodial Environment, but just enough to make it more likely than not that the move is in the best interests of the child).

Next, if there is a current custody order in place and the change of domicile will result in a move more than 100 miles from where the child lived at the time the court case was filed, and the exceptions of MCL 722.31(2)-(3) do not apply, the court must then conduct a Change of Domicile Analysis.

Yes, Michigan law prohibits a parent of a child in a joint custody arrangement in Michigan from moving more than 100 miles away from the child’s legal residence at the time the custody order was issued. There are exceptions in Michigan cases such as the other parent agreeing or if the original residence was initially 100 or more miles away, and this move actually brings the child closer.

Yes, in Michigan non-custodial parents must not be denied access to records and information concerning their child unless that parent is specifically prohibited from having records by a protective order. These records may include records pertaining to school, medical, dental, day care and notification of meetings regarding the child’s schooling like a parent-teacher conference.

Michigan courts have held that duty to make support payments may be suspended if parenting time is denied unless the suspension of payments would adversely affect the children.

If the answer to this question is not clear, and one is strongly advised to speak to a Michigan family lawyer before taking action.

In Michigan, a presumption exists that a fit parent’s decision to deny grand-parenting time does not create a substantial risk of harm to the child. A grandparent in Michigan may need to petition for time with grandchildren if the parents are denying them access. To rebut this presumption, and win on the issue, the grandparent must prove by preponderance of the evidence that the parent’s decision to deny grand-parenting time creates a substantial risk of harm to the child’s mental, physical or emotional health.

In Michigan sole custody means that one parent has primary physical custody as well as legal custody of the child. Joint custody in Michigan means that parents could share one or both of physical and legal custody.

Legal custody of a child in Michigan is defined as a parent having the responsibility over major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, medical treatment, school enrollment, religious instruction and other similar matters.

Non-major decisions are to be made with the parent who has physical custody of the child in Michigan at the time that the decision is made. This means that the parent without legal custody of a child, may make certain decisions for the child while spending their parenting time.

Yes, but an award concerning child support, custody and parenting time in Michigan is always subject to the review by a Michigan court, and can be vacated if the judge finds that the award is not in the best interest of the child.

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