A “change of domicile” is where one parent, who is a party to a child custody matter, seeks permission to relocate from the State of Michigan and move the minor child to another state. Historically, it has been difficult to change domicile because of the Court’s desire to keep both parents close to their children. However, in more recent years, judges have more readily granted changes of domicile due to the poor economic climate in Michigan.
Generally, if the parent seeking a change in domicile can establish that he or she has unsuccessfully made a good faith effort to locate a job in Michigan, yet has located a fruitful job in another state, the courts will more liberally consider the request for change of domicile. However, to be successful in such a motion, the parent should establish an actual job offer in another state and not just that he or she has commenced a search for such employment.
Additionally, the parent must establish that the relocation is not an effort to take the children away from the other parent and that there will be a reasonable parenting time schedule offered to make up for the loss of parenting time resulting from no longer living in close proximity.
The parent must further show a clear economic benefit for the children if the move is permitted. Development of a regular electronic and phone communication schedule is also highly recommended.
While Michigan continues to rank in the top several states with regards to unemployment rate, judges are forced to show leniency as to requests for change of domicile, so long as the statutory and case law requirements are met. Each scenario, of course, must be analyzed on a case by case basis. We are prepared to assess whether or not you have a legitimate case and a reasonable basis for seeking or defending a change of domicile.
If you have any questions regarding domicile, please contact attorney Melissa A. Cox at 248.380.0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.