Many divorced parents with child custody are considering moving from Michigan to take a new job. Many times these parents must move out of state to find acceptable employment to support their families. This issue is complicated when it comes to minor children and the parents share joint legal or physical custody. I recently discussed this topic with a friend whose ex-wife was planning to move from Rochester Hills, Michigan to Ohio.
In cases where divorced parents share joint legal custody, which is true in almost all cases, any party moving more than 100 miles or out of Michigan, even if less than 100 miles, must get approval. from the court before you are allowed to move. This includes the non-custodial parent, so even if one does not have primary physical custody, he or she must get court approval before moving if they share joint legal custody.
The party that wants to move basically has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, which in layman’s terms means, a little more likely than not, that they have complied with the legal requirements. This issue is further complicated if the parents share joint physical custody of the child or if the court decides that there is an established custodial environment with both parents.
If the parents share joint physical custody of a child, after the court determines that one parent may move by a preponderance of the evidence, the court must make a decision regarding the change of custody. If the court determines that, from the children’s point of view, the move would change the custody setting, then the court must make a decision regarding a change of custody.
The idea of a custodial setting means that even if the parents do not share physical custody, the following issues can arise with respect to a change of custody if for a considerable period of time the child seeks love, affection, guidance and support in both parents. other similar types of parental support.
If the court finds that there is an established custodial environment with both parents as described above, the court will re-examine the custody issue and the parent who wants to move must prove that it is in the best interest of the child to change custody through a decision clear and convincing. standard of evidence, which is significantly stricter than the preponderance of evidence standard stated above.
The best interests of the child is actually a list of 11 different factors and a blanket phrase of any other factors that the court deems relevant. This can be very difficult for a parent to prove, and if the parent fails to do so, despite determining that the above factors have been met to allow the move, the court will transfer custody of the child to the non-moving parent. This is true even when the child spent more time in the home of the parent proposing the move, as long as the court finds that there is an established custodial environment with both parents. This may not seem fair to a parent who is moving because he or she can’t find a job, but the focus is on the children, not the struggling parent.
None of the above applies if the parents do not share joint legal custody. Unfortunately, this means that if one is going through a divorce and there is a good reason to believe that they will have to move for work or other reasons, it would be wise to fight for sole legal custody of the parent who is contemplating such a move. .