Michigan Change of Domicile
Michigan Change of Domicile matters are one of the more challenging cases for families and family law attorneys. A Michigan Change of Domicile matter arises where two parents are parties to a custody arrangement and one parent is requesting to relocate.
The Child Custody Act, MCL 722.21 et seq., governs all disputes involving the custody of a child. MCL 722.31 provides the factors that the court must consider when deciding a Michigan Change of Domicile matter; when the more is more than 100 miles. It is important to understand that when the court is considering these factors, the court will focus on the child, not the parents, as the primary focus in the court’s deliberations.
Michigan Change of Domicile, what is it and what do you have to prove? When a parent attempts to change the domicile of a child to a location that is over 100 miles away or to another state, regardless of the distance involved, Michigan Change of Domicile law, MCL 722.31, is implicated. Gagnon, 295 Mich App at 566.
Michigan Change of Domicile law, MCL 722.31, provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
(1) A child whose parental custody is governed by court order has, for the purposes of this section, a legal residence with each parent. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a parent of a child whose custody is governed by court order shall not change a legal residence of the child to a location that is more than 100 miles from the child’s legal residence at the time of the commencement of the action in which the order is issued.
(4) Before permitting a legal residence change otherwise restricted by subsection (1), the court shall consider each of the following factors, with the child as the primary focus in the court’s deliberations:
(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.
“The party requesting the change of domicile has the burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the change is warranted.” McKimmy, 291 Mich App at 582. Once a party has established by a preponderance of the evidence that a Michigan change in domicile is warranted, the next step is that “the trial court must determine whether an established custodial environment exists.” Rains v Rains, 301 Mich App 313, 327, 836 NW2d 709 (2013).
Your specific situation may be somewhat different from the norm; please call, 734.927.9782, the Canton Michigan Divorce Lawyers and Canton Michigan Family Law Attorneys at Stelmock Law Firm, PC to discuss your matter. We represent clients in the Metro Detroit area (Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Livonia, Westland, Ann Arbor, Novi) and throughout Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, and Livingston counties. The firm’s office is located at 8556 N. Canton Center Road, Canton, Michigan 48187
By: Robert J. Stelmock, Attorney, GAL, Parenting Coordinator & Mediator at Stelmock Law Firm, PC