Change of Domicile - DV Charges
If you have children in Michigan, and you're facing domestic violence charges, you're worried about what might happen with your children. If the other parent of your children is the "victim" of the domestic charge, will they file for divorce, take away your kids, or even worse, move with them far away (different state or country).
For someone who is looking to move kids out of the state, here is a breakdown of the rules in Michigan.
First, is there a current custody order or judgment in place with a family court?
a. If yes, then the domicile or residence of the child/children may not be moved from Michigan without the approval of the court where the order or judgment was entered. In petitioning the court for a change of domicile, you must show proper cause or a change of circumstances.
Unless any of the following exceptions apply under MCL 722.31(2)-(3):
i. The relocating parent has been granted sole legal custody;
ii. The parents’ residences were more than 100 miles apart when the legal action commenced;
iii. The move results in the residences being closer; or
iv. Both parents consent to the residence change. (Such consent must be as to a specific relocation and not one provided in general terms prior to a relocation plan.)
b. If no:
i. Will the non-relocating parent object?
1. If yes, will the move change the child's Established Custodial Environment?
2. If no, obtain consent in writing (e-mail, text, print, etc.) and GO!
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 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).
#1)Will your proposed move change the child's Established Custodial Environment?
If 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.
#2) The proposed move will NOT change the child's Established Custodial Environment
If 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.
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