Did you know about change of domicile?

Moving with your child may not be easy! For additional information contact Terry Bankert in Flint at attorneybankert.com 810-235-1970

Under the Child Custody Act (CCA), MCL 722.21 et seq, absent court approval, when a child’s custody is governed by a court order, a parent may not change the legal residence of that child to a location more than 100 miles .

A motion for a change of domicile essentially requires a four-step approach. 

First, a trial court must determine whether the moving party has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the factors enumerated in MCL 722.31(4), the so-called D’Onofrio factors, support a motion for a change of domicile. 

The first step in the above-cited framework involves applying the factors set forth in MCL 722.31(4), which provides as follows:

(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. [MCL 722.31(4).]
“[T]he moving party [must] establish[] by a preponderance of the evidence that the factors . . . support a motion for a change of domicile.” 
Second, if the factors support a change in domicile, then the trial court must then determine whether an established custodial environment exists. 

Third, if an established custodial environment exists, the trial court must then determine whether the change of domicile would modify or alter that established custodial environment. 

Finally, if, and only if, the trial court finds that a change of domicile would modify or alter the child’s established custodial environment must the trial court determine whether the change in domicile would be in the child’s best interests by considering whether the best-interest factors in MCL 722.23 have been established by clear and convincing evidence. [Rains, 301 Mich App at 325 (footnote omitted).] see MA #334911
@terrybankert.com 810-235-1970

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