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RESOURCES - SINGLE AND DIVORCING PARENTS

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Colleen, this case sounds complicated enough that I cannot offer you any advice until after I've reviewed the judgment and talked with you and your husband or gathered more detailed information.

Please email me to schedule a telephone conference and we can then determine whether and how you should move forward. You'll easily find my email address in the right-hand sidebar of the blog.

Colleen, it sounds as though you have a relocation case that is viable and also is one that might be resolved without a hearing. Just last month, I was able to mediate between Mom and Dad and get an agreement, that was then put in proper form so that the Court could enter an order permitting Mom to relocate from Michigan to Florida. Negotiation of parenting time, travel expenses, and support are often the way to success in doing this without having to go through a court hearing.

Call my office or email me [Email is better] if you'd like me to help you negotiate this with the father and help you put the order in proper form for submission to the Friend of the Court for approval and to the judge for entry.

Hi -
I have sole physical custody of my triplet daughters, however, my ex and I have joint legal custody. I have become in contact with a long-lost love from high school who lives in Iowa. We plan to be married and my daughters and I will move to Iowa to be with him, his job is there. I am currently attending school to be a Medical Assistant and will be ready to move come October/November 2012. My daughters are excited to move to Iowa, yet know that they will not see their dad everyother weekend. His visitation now is everyother weekend and 1 night a week for 2-1/2 hrs. Currently my ex has my daughters from Friday evening to Saturday evening everyother weekend. He chooses to bring my girls home on Saturday night because he has to work on Sundays. Instead of being a "parent" and find proper child care while he works, he chooses to bring my daughters home. It is not rare for him to go the two weeks between his weekend visitation without seeing my girls. My daughters see my ex during the week time ONLY because I make the effort to contact him and ask him to see them.

I have looked up the school calendar for a couple Iowa school districts which my daughters could attend and have made note of the different times they have off from school. I have written up a proposal for my ex in hopes of him saying it is ok for my daughters and I to move to Iowa, however he doesn't see the advantage of us moving. With the written proposal I drewup my ex would see more of my daughters than he does now and he lives a 1/2 mile away from us now.

Does the fact that my fiance' and I will be getting married make a difference in the decision of the courts for my daughters and I to move to Iowa? I have no intentions at all to keep my daughters from spending time with their dad, actually as said above, I am offering my ex more visitation time than he gets now.

Any information you can offer regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

It sounds to me as though you will have to file a motion to relocate. At that hearing, the court will have to hear evidence regarding the factors in MCL 722.31:

(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.

It sounds as though the established custodial environment is with you. That is helpful because it results in a lower "burden of proof." You would only have to prove the move is in your child's best interests by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than by "clear and convincing evidence." Moreover, you could likely avoid a best interests hearing altogether by focusing on the above factors.

In a recent case I handled, I was able to negotiate with the father and get him to agree to a move from Michigan to Florida where the mother had to relocate to replace her high-paying position that had been lost in a cut-back with her former employer. In this case, the father had only 92 overnights a year and I was able to offer him parenting time of something like 67 overnights in Michigan with Mom paying for 4 flights per year and unlimited PT in Florida at father's own cost, but no child support. The court agreed to deviate from the child support formula on the theory that the deviation promoted the ability of the father-child "close and continuing parent-child relationship" by financing the father's ability to make the Florida to Michigan trips.

Perhaps I could negotiate such an arrangement for you. If this sounds like a good plan, call me at my office to schedule a consultation, which could be by telephone. 231-275-5600

Hello Jeanne,

I am currently in the process of obtaining a new job position, relocating for this and marriage. I was granted primary physical custody in 2008, with joint legal and restricted parenting time for my ex, due to issues deemed reasonable by the courts and counselors.

At the time of the Interim Order for custody, my ex was still residing in our home in Portland, MI, Ionia Co. My child and I had to find other residence quickly for school start, which ended up in West Lansing. During the finalization of the Divorce and further counseling my ex moved to Blissfield without notifying me or the courts. By drive this was between 113 - 136 mi away from his legal residence. When I notified my attorney and it was submitted to the Ionia FOC I was informed that the 100 mile rule was determined by "as the crow flies" and that it was actually from where I was living, which would be about 80 miles. Therefore he had not violated any rules.

A stipulation was entered in 2009 extending my ex's visitation after completion of counseling which opened up Holidays and agreed upon summer break times which must be submitted by April each year. We had been practicing Holidays, already and from the get go. There have been no submissions of summer breaks by my ex to date, and I have been flexible for the summers, and have alternated other breaks too. I have tried the one night a week for the last year, but due to his work schedule this happens no more than 50% of the time and I am usually notified last minute if it won't work, until this last month because of his availability so nothing has been put into writing.

Now I have been given the opportunity to work in another location in Oceana Co. Following the rules that were given to me by FOC during the ex's move and following up again just 3 months ago when I have decided to marry again, we looked for a home within the 100 mile rule. My partner is bound by political reasons/job to stay within a certain district, and we have found a home. I have been open with my ex about how we are trying to work within all parties' needs, as well as provide a good home and place to educate and raise our child. (I am currently living in a small apartment and both my ex and myself have been less than satisfied with the local school system here.) My ex had recently moved to Mason to be with his, now former, girlfriend. Our child has resided with me, still in west Lansing.

When I contacted the Ionia FOC today to submit the change of address documentation I was told that I would have to submit other documentation and this would have to go to court because it needs to be determined if it is really within the 100 miles based on our case and is up to the courts to determine if it is by drive or by line. My job is in mapping. I have mapped my residency from postal address to postal address, as is the state and national standard for premises verification, not just property boundaries and by line it is at the exact 100 mile mark.

Where would they determine his legal residence, since the law states it is at the time of the order? His original legal address was in Portland, but he moved without notice and the courts took no action because it was over 100mi by drive, then. Or is it from the "undocumented" Blissfield location? Or is it from his current Mason location? Does this even apply since our child's primary physical location has been under my roof all along - which he is not disputing. But still, FOC is saying that this has to go before the courts because of the determining factor if the mileage is based on drive or line.

This divorce left my life in financial hardship and I am trying to better our lives. Now I am being told that I have to go before the courts again even if there is an agreement made with the ex and I am within the 100 mile rule. I will not be breaking any parenting time agreement and we will be keeping to the every other weekend, and hopefully if his life allows - more summer, holiday and off school time.

From what I have read up on this, taken from another legal site: The Michigan Court of Appeals recently ruled that the 100 miles is measured by a direct line not by road miles. This is significant especially for Michigan. Large parts of Illinois and Wisconsin are less than 100 miles over Lake Michigan, but more than 100 miles by road. The court has concluded however that“blanket consent” is not enforceable. See Delamielleure v Belote, 267 Mich App 337, 704 NW2d 746 (2005).

Any suggestions?

Thank you -

Your question presents issue that should be addressed in a consultation. Please call my office to arrange a telephone consult.
231-275-5600

I have a question. My husband and I have pretty much 50/50 visitation with his son. He and the babys mom never went thru friend of the court because they have agreed on everything, so nothing is written about custody or child support for that matter, and his son is 9 months old. We share him 50/50 though. His son's mom is thinking about moving from Michigan to Conneticut. Can she do that?

You have not provided enough facts for me to respond. These cases are very fact-specific. Moreover, the time involved in responding lends itself better to a paid consultation. Call my office to set up a telephone consultation.

Is a mother allowed to move out of.state with kids without the fathers permission even tho he is in prison but is going.to be relesed in a few months?

Cora, your question is so complicated that it cannot possibly be answered on this Blog. You'll need to telephone and schedule a paid telephone consultation about what options you have and what actions you might pursue.

My SIL now lives in Florida, and has for more then 2 years now. She has 2 children with a man who was sentenced to 15+ years in prison for a CSC charge and was found guilty of a CSC in the second degree. He has paroled out last November and is now trying to get the children's address and other information, like schools, etc. However, as part of his parole agreement, he is to have NO CONTACT WITH ANY CHILDREN. The lovely Friend of the Court in Mecosta County is giving her the run-around, stating she had no right to move, and the fact of his parole requirements are "not important". But it was my understanding that when a parent has a CSC charge, they lose their parental rights. Is this not true? He had 2 charges, one of which was my SIL other daughter from another father. And the other was a neighbor girl. Does he have still have rights?

Lily, you asked: "Am I going to have to jump through hoops to move?" The answer is "yes," because the father of your child has joint legal custody. Go back and re-read the blog post. It explains everything.

I have a situation in Ionia county. I am the sole custodial parent of my children. With joint legal custody. Because of a physical attack my daughtera father made against me (while she was in my arms), he has not saw her since the attack. My sons father sees him when its convenient. What are the rules of moving out of state w my children, if I can better provide for them else where? I am on assistance now, but have better job opportunities/school oportunities, and a better support system for myself and my children in Co. Am I going to have to jump through hoops to move?

Chris,

You'll want to run my response by your Friend of the Court caseworker because not all courts in Michigan adhere to the same interpretations of the language you describe.

Your former spouse claims that this language from the FOC Handbook means that since she has custody and you have parenting time, you should now do all the driving. "Unless otherwise agreed or ordered by the court, the parent who is exercising parenting time should be responsible for all transportation."

However, in the counties north of Town Line 32, where I primarily practice, this language is normally interpreted to mean that the parent entitled to spend time with the children--to have parenting time with the children--picks the children up ant the beginning of his or her parenting time.

In my view, you pick the children up at the beginning of your parenting time, and when it is your spouse's time to get them back so she has her time with them--she picks them up.

A practical way to resolve this is to approach your caseworker (even if by letter) and try to get the caseworker to mediate this dispute.

Best of luck and happy holidays. Jeanne

Hello Jeanne,

You provide a great service to many people with your informative blog. Thanks much.

Quick question on a related topic to the relocation issue... I am the NCP of three (beautiful) daughters, 11-5yo). Mom lives in Northville and I recently moved from a 2 bedroom apt in Nville to a 4 bedroom house in Manchester (exactly 43 miles and apprx 47mins door to door). I get my girls every weekend Fri afternoon to Sunday eve. We previously split the transportation during exchanges with the person who was getting the children picking up; I picked up on Fri, she picked up on Sun.

My question is now that I have moved, mother says the 43 miles is a burden and she no longer wants to spend the time/mileage to do so. She says it's my responsibility as NCP. Our court order doesn't specify anything about transportation but she cites that the order says that defendant (me) will exercise parenting time on the weekend. She goes on to cite Wayne County FOC "Parenting Time Guidelines" that states, "Unless otherwise agreed or ordered by the court, the parent who is exercising parenting time should be responsible for all transportation."

Does this put me on the hook for all transportation? If so, is there a way to modify this? Is this something the court is usually willing to look at?

Again, MANY thanks for your hard work on the blog, keep it up.

Best Regard,
Chris

I am a mother who has sole physical custody but joint legal custody. I have recently gotten married and my husband wants to adopt my son. I currently reside in indiana but my custody case is from michigan. My sons biological father has not made one payment of child support in 5 years and has seen our son 3 times in that time frame. He does not call or write and he doesnt want the responsibility but he says thats his son and no one elses. He has another son who is 3 years older than my son and he lives in Texas and he doesnt see him either...what can i do to fix this i did not recieve permission to move out of state I just did for job oppertunities and to give my son the best life possible. What should i do?

I am also going through a similar situation- original jurisdiction of the Michigan court had my ex's HOR in Iowa and me in CO. She moved back to MI a year later- in which I authorized. Technically according to the Michigan Parenting Guideline she should have to have paid the entire travel costs to parenting time for moving outside the 100 miles. I then moved to VA (which is half the distance of MI and CO) and now she is taking me to court for me to pay the entire travel and try to have me drive all the way to MI. She is objecting to to the FOC investigation which says she should meet halfway. This is actually what she originally agreed to and now is going back on what she said.

It only works if you have cooperative parents. My husband and I are going through this right now. We live in Michigan and she lives in Georgia. It is a nightmare. She does everything she can to make life difficult. Please do not even consider this if you cannot get along because your children will pay the price!!

Hello there! Thanks for your affirming comments.

One is only limited by one's imagination. Therefore, it's time to think outside the box. The parties' past practices are a good guide for the court. So if they were meeting halfway between KY and MI, then how far did each have to drive?

What is the distance between Mom's house and the NH post? Or, if the kids are flying, what's the difference in fares (if any)? In which Michigan county is your husband's case pending? And who is the judge? These are all part of the mix and a negotiated settlement is the way to go. If I cannot help you with it, I can certainly find one of my Family Law Section friends who can. Jeanne

Good Afternoon Jeanne!

Your website is great! I have read several articles that give me and my husband hope. I agree with your statement of, "that litigation is harmful to most families, causes rifts that are usually never healed, and can create a permanent barrier to effective co-parenting."

We are dealing with a situation were my husband is an active duty service member, who was married before and was stationed in Michigan. He received orders to Kentucky and had to move. His children are his world and he has/still makes every attempt to see them on long weekends, spring break, summer break, and major holidays.

He and his former wife had an uncontested divorce and had the regular parenting schedule the court issues, but they always agreed on visitation that were outside the standard parenting time schedule.

My husband has come up on orders again to New Hampshire, and now his ex-wife filled a motion for my husband to be responsible for all transportation to and from visits. He didn't chose to move. He was "ordered". Very big difference in "choosing" to move and "ordered" to move.

I feel the "100-Mile Rule" should not apply to my husband and other non-custodial parent who are in similar situation. For the courts to hold my husband fully responsible because the United States Army "ordered" him to move would be unconstitutional!

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