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Legal Guidance For Child Relocation

Under Michigan law, a child is considered to have a legal residence with both parents if that child’s custody is governed by a court order such as a divorce agreement, regardless of the amount of time the child spends with each parent. In cases where one parent is seeking a legal residence change that would move the child more than 100 miles from the other parent, the court must have a compelling reason to approve it unless the other parent consents to the move.

In all cases, and pursuant to the Michigan Court Rules, a child’s residence cannot be moved outside of Michigan without the approval of the judge who awarded custody or the judge’s successor. MCR 3.211(c)(1).

Whether you are the parent who is moving out of state or relocating to another part of Michigan, or you are the parent who is facing the possibility of losing contact with your child, there is a lot at stake in these cases. You need an experienced attorney who can help to ensure that your interests are protected. At Lana Panagoulia Law, PLLC, we represent parents on both sides of relocation cases.

“In a day and age where there are many predetermined outcomes, assumptions of the law, and practices that are taken for granted by parties during divorce proceedings and custody issues, Lana broke down all those walls and showed me that when you are not in the wrong, the law will recognize that fact.” — Anonymous client on Avvo’s lawyer rating site

Attorney Panagoulia will not make assumptions while reviewing your case. Contact our law office at 734-769-LANA to speak with an Ann Arbor parental relocation lawyer.

Court Considerations For A Legal Residence Change

The court must consider a number of factors before allowing a legal residence to change greater than 100 miles where there is an existing court order. Paramount is the children’s best interests. If the parties share joint legal custody, and if one party desires to move the child’s residence greater than 100 miles, that party must comply with Michigan’s codification of the New Jersey “D’Onofrio” rule. There are five issues that must be considered pursuant to the Michigan Child Custody Act, MCL 722.31:

  • Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.

MCL 722.31

Contact Our Lawyer To Draft A Change Of Child Custody Agreement

At Lana Panagoulia Law, PLLC, we can help you draft a proposal modifying your child custody agreement if there is a legal residence change from either parent. Contact our Michigan office today to schedule an appointment with a lawyer who can assist you with drafting an agreement to change child custody at 734-769-LANA.

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