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Jeanne M. Hannah

Karen, your comment lacks certain vital information. You may call my office between the hours of 9 AM and 2 PM Monday through Friday to schedule a telephone consultation.


Daughter is 18 years old and a full time student in high school.

Divorce decree states on page three, Visitation….until age 18 years, or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later, or until further order of this court.

Order for Change of Domicile addresses only minor children but states Plaintiff shall be responsible for the cost of transportation for parenting time.


Will the Friend of the Court enforce the Parenting Time order since she is now over the age of 18? Visits for the past year have been sporadic.

If she does decide to visit, would it be considered visitation under the Parenting Time order?

Since the Change of Domicile addresses the minor children for visitation, am I responsible for their transportation costs after they turn 18 years of age?


Hi Jeanne,

I'm desperate, My court date is April 30th and am worried to death about the reviews of the judge assigned to the case. I Filed a motion to move from michigan to ohio because the father will not give me the okay to move. Keeping in mind that he hasn't upheld his parenting time and probably sees her on an average of three hours a month. My worries; based on the reviews I've read this judge is going to side with the father and not grant me permission. If this happens can I appeal and how long would an appeal take? Our two oldest daughters are grown and want to go to court with me to show their support, is this a good or bad idea. by the way the move is 43 miles from our current home.

Thanks for any guidance!

Jeanne M Hannah

JAF, the judge should look at you two parents as heroes! I wish all parents could resolve these issues as you and your ex have done. Judges love it when parents make decisions rather than asking the courts to resolve it. Not only are scarce judicial resources used if a hearing is necessary, but the judge knows that he or she will never know what is in your child's best interests as much as you two do. I applaud you both for having the wisdom and maturity to work out this terrific solution.


I am currently trying to move from Michigan to South Carolina. The move is happening in August. I have one daughter with her father, 2 others with my husband. My daughter's father (not my husband) has agreed to let us move. We have a decent friendly relationship now and he understands our finanical problems we have been having with my husband being laid off, and our reasons for moving (great and safe area, great schools, lower cost of living, school for me with internships). We have always worked out our own visitations and plan on doing so once I move as well. We have agreed that anytime we come back to MIchigan he will see her (my whole family is here so we will come back often). Also once he has a car and we have work in SC we will plan on driving home every other month for a weekend, and he will travel to SC the other months for the weekend.

My question is this - he has agreed to allow us to move and will be siging that change of domicile form, but what are the chances of the judge not allowing us to move even with our agreement? If the judge does not allow us to move, can we take our case out of the FOC? We have talked about this before since we do get along and would prefer to handle everyhing our selves.

Thank you.

Jeanne M Hannah


You have a compelling and complicated factual situation. Relocation motions that will, of necessity impact custody and parenting time are decided based up the specific facts of each case. Your facts seem pretty compelling. Fall (and beginning of school) is coming. You should file that motion to relocate soon.

Be prepared with specific evidence about how the move will benefit the children. The focus is on the children. Feel free to call me to schedule a consultation. Jeanne M. Hannah

Marah Michelle

I have sole physical custody but joint legal custody of my two children from a prior marriage, ages 8 and 9. We are currently facing what feels like an unavoidable move to another state. My husband works from home in Michigan right now, but his company is located in the other state. If we do not move, he will be the next one let ago (he is the only non-local employee- he moved to this state FOR the children years ago, to help them maintain the relationship with their father- and therefore can only do half the job requirements of the other workers- if we move he has much more seniority than the other employees and therefore much more job security), and we all know it's virtually impossible to find a job here in Michigan. With his current job, even with relocating the majority of his work would remain from a home office, so he can still be here most of the time for all five of the kids- a new job here, should he even be able to find one would almost certainly not allow for this. Not only do the children benefit from his being here, I am disabled, and while it does not restrict me in any way from parenting it most certainly helps to have someone here to share the load. It makes me a healthier and better parent!

We are also considering the move due to the fact that my youngest daughter has severe asthma that is activated by the cold. Every Michigan winter she has numerous (documented) trips to the emergency room, and at least one hospital stay. Each winter it also appears to get worse despite treatment by the specialist- the last time she required oxygen for days. There appear to be no other aggravating factors than cold temperature. Her specialist now does not allow her to be out when the temperature is less that 38 degrees- no walking across the street to school, no recess or gym outside with her classmates, etc. She has missed much school as a result and feels somewhat like a recluse in the winter. At this point if we have to remain here, homeschooling may become our only option for her, and one we do not feel is the best benefit for her educationally or socially. While I know a move to a warmer climate is never a "guarantee" something else in the environment wouldn't aggravate her asthma, it would certainly appear to remove the largest trigger.

We have family (my current husband's, whom the children consider their grandparents/aunt) in the area we wish to move to as well. In addition, my oldest child's (12) father (we joint physical and legal custody, and he is very reliable in his parenting time- this child knows nothing other than the set schedule of regular time with both mom and dad) is also considering a move to the same area of that state as he has been unemployed here for quite some time and cannot find work, and his parents also live in the area and could help him get back on his feet financially as he looks for work. This would allow the oldest child to continue a strong relationship with her father built over 10 years of a consistent custody schedule and to build a stronger relationship with her paternal grandparents and family. It would also improve her life financially as her father would have a better chance of finding employment, and we split costs concerning her care (so child support either way isn't the issue so much as his being able to provide for her better during his parenting time). In this state he may soon lose his house, yet should he move, as I've stated, he could live with family until he found employment.

Right now we have a small 3 bedroom home for 7 people. We have lived in this house for 10 years but need more space. We couldn't afford what we need here as we could in the other state. There the children would most likely be able to have 2 to 3 times the size house we have here. Not a huge consideration, but one nonetheless, that does impact their quality of life.

The father of the 8 and 9 year old girls is very difficult to get along with and often disappoints the children in regard to his parenting time. We have logged in the last year and a half that he completely cancels 1/3 of visits (which are on a set schedule). They rarely do overnights with him during the school year (he does not want to transport them to school so he'll only take them for the evening), and almost every visit they are either picked up late or dropped back off up to 5 hours early. He has missed visits without even a call, does no medical appointments/hospital stays/parent-teacher conferences, or attend 90% of their games/performances. There is no consistency in visits OR housing with him; he has moved 5 times, each time further away from the children, back and forth between living on his own and with various friends or family members, in the past 2.5 years. He is over $1k behind in child support (he took time off work without telling us- so we could plan financially- to have a tummy tuck) and because he knows he needs to be over $2k behind for FOC to take action, has made no moves to rectify the situation in almost 2 years. He holds a second job which he does not report as earnings to FOC. This is also not a motivating factor in any way in the move, but I bring this up rather to demonstrate his lack of commitment to caring for his children and providing for them both with his time and financially.

We have no motivation to "keep the kids from their dad" and would be more than willing to work on some type of extended visitation during the summer months should he provide suitable supervision during his working hours. Obviously this would also reduce child support so he care for them properly during that time, and we'd be willing to arrange their transportation to/from this extended visit. I honestly think they would probably see him for MORE overnights/total hours with this arrangement than they do now with his many missed and shortened visits.

While we know there are no guarentees, what is our likelihood of being able to relocate? We do not foresee the father of the 8 and 9 year old as being agreeable to this at all. What would our next step be?


my 16 year old step-daughter is refusing to follow the summer visitation schedule to see her dad in michigan. She has talked to him, but he tells her it is not her choice. I agree I think she has to go see her dad for the summer. She claims she wants to stay so she can work, attend lacrosse camp with her friends, she wants to attend a science camp at the local university, she wants to spend time with her friends, she is willing to go to michigan for the month of August, but dad is saying no. If she does not go Dad will contact Friend of the court and file a complaint which will lead to my wife being in contempt of a court order. What can we do? She is asking for help in fighting Dad in court. Is there hope in changing visitation now that she is 16?

Johanna Oleary

My husband was divorced in 2007 and has had the children (ages 5 and 12) in his custody since then. He has joint legal, and primary physical custody. The mother has weekly parenting time, Tues and Thur from 5:00pm - 8:45 pm, and every other weekend. She occasionally cancelled her parenting time (up until we filed for change of domicile). He was laid off Jan 1, 2009 and actively job searching in MI with no prospects. We scoured the country for employment, and determined there were many opportunities in the Houston, TX area. We gatherered documentation on the area, and per the advise of FOC, filed a petition for Change of Domicile, which was promptly denied by the judge. He stated to "go down there, get jobs, show him information about the schools, and then come and talk to him." We planned a trip to Houston, and in one weeks time, both secured wonderful jobs. The childrens mother is refusing to even speak to my husband about the move, and so we will have to go to court to get the order. We are offering all summer vacation and alternating spring and winter breaks, and she can come to TX at any time to visit. We are also offering to cover the transportation costs of the children to fly back and forth to MI. Do we have a chance of winning this?? We are financially struggling week to week, and the employment opportunity we have been offered will drastically increase our household income. There are top notch schools in the area we will be living, as well as an abundance of extracurricular activities for the children, which arn't available here in Northern Michigan.

Jeanne M Hannah

Hello Joe and Angela,

What do you mean by this statement:

"She has full custody of the child."

In what county was the custody order entered?

Both of these issues have significant legal consequences.

Jeanne M Hannah

Joe and Angela

Me and my soon to be wife are gong to be moving to Arkansas. And she has a 5year old child with her old boyfriend. He has never once seen him or does he ever plan to. We contacted the friend of the court and they said we need a change of domicile form. They told us we need his permission to leave state. He lives in Texas and is over $7000 in back support. She has full custody of the child and were not sure if he will agree to the move. If he says no what can we do? We cant afford a Lawyer nor can we wait to move. We planned on moving by DEC. 10th and we only have 20days before the planned move. Is there anything we can do to speed this process up? please let us know.

Jeanne M Hannah


If the mother will not agree, then a court proceeding (which is not a guaranteed win . . . all depends upon the particular facts of his case and how much parenting time Mom exercises), is your only recourse.

The turn around time can be considerable -- depending upon which judicial circuit his case is pending.

Has he considered making a deal on child support -- giving her a break to allow her to use that money for parenting time? Call me on Monday if you want to talk this over.

Jeanne Hannah

Kristine McPeak

My boyfriend may be laid off and wants to take the severance buyout and move with his 14 year old son 450 miles away (still within the state of Michigan).

His ex spouse gave verbal agreement but has now changed her mind.

What is his recourse, and what is the court time turn around? He needs to decide whether to take the buyout in 8 business days.

What would you recommend?

Jeanne M Hannah

Hello Laura,

Your husband should notify the FOC and his co-parent of the change in address for his daughter. However, because he has sole legal custody, he doesn't have to get permission to move his daughter more than 100 miles. I wrote a recent article about this. You can read it at this URL -- or click on Relocations in the category list on the right hand side of the Blog. This article is titled "The 100 Mile Rule } The Effect of Sole Custody."

See also the other article about the Spires case at this URL

Laura Rodriguez

I have a question.
My husband was granted sole legal and pysical custody of his daughter. We live in Zeeland and are moving to Traverse City which is more than a 100 miles away. i am confused. I read that they changed the laws regarding the 100 mile rule and that he doesnt have to get court approval. Is that true or not? His custody papers which were signed and finalized in 2004 states that he cannot remove the child from the state of michigan without court approval and that the a parent whose custody or parenting time of the child is governed by this judgment of child custody and child support shall not change the legal residence of the child except in compliance with section 11 of the child custody act of what does he need to do? Does he need to notify the court or not? I am confused because i have read under the new michigan guidelines for child custody he having sold custody does not need to notify the court.
please help.

thank you

Jeanne M Hannah


There's an old saying: "The lawyer who represents him/herself has a fool for a client." If even lawyers shouldn't represent themselves on something so difficult as a change in custody motion, imagine how much more difficult it would be for a layperson to represent herself.

Is your son's father represented? Do you feel intimidated by his lawyer?

On the one hand, it's difficult to imagine why -- based upon what you've said about the facts of your case -- your son would have been placed with his father. It's tragic that your case has taken so long without even getting to trial.

If you have to represent yourself, you should remember that not only do you need to make sure that the judge hears the truth and that you are direct, but also remember that you should tell your facts chronologically so that it all makes sense to the judge.

Your son will get the opportunity to talk privately with the judge and say which parent he wants to live with. Make sure that your son understands that telling his preference means more than saying "I want to live with my mom and stepdad and stepsisters." He needs to state his "reasonable preference." This means he needs to have good reasons for his preference. Best of luck to you.



I have tried all that you suggested and more. How can I write up my own Petition for Change of Domicile and represent myself? Do you beleive this is a good idea? I have been told by numerous people that at this point in my case, the Judge needs to hear the truth and be direct and you can only do that for your self, do you believe this?



Jeanne M Hannah

Hello Heidi,

It must be awful for your son to be caught in the middle. Relocations are very difficult and very expensive. Moreover, there's no guarantee of success.

Have you considered offering to allow your son's father to pay no child support and to take most of the summers, all of Spring Break and all of Christmas Break as a settlement of the custody issue? Best of luck to you with this legal proceeding. Jeanne

Heidi McKissick

I have a question for you, I had my son when I was 16 years old, my son now 12 has always lived with me and my current husband of 6 years and his 3 sisters.Last February my husband recieved a job offer in California. We were currenty residing in Livonia and my husband had been working for Chrysler for 13 years as an Engingeer. I retained an attorney to do a change of Domicile but before that was entered my sons father enter a Restraining Order for my son to not be removed from the state.So obviously we went to court in Wayne County and the Judge sent it to Mediation, with no resolution, so we wnet back in September to the next step of Mediation, so now my husband and daughters had moved to California for 5 months and my son was unable to go,he was devasated. I ended up moving my daughters back to Michigan after Temporary Custody was given to his father to begin school until further Ordered by the Court. During this time I was not being given Parenting Time and to do so my attorney continued to want more and more money to do so. Finally in January of 2008, now 11 months later the Mediator came back with her recommendation that my son finish the school year with Dad and then I need to petition the Court to have Physical Custody be returned to me. But due to all the stress of my whole family moving from California my husband lost his job in California in October 2007 and moved back to Michigan. After 5 months of being unemployed and both of us seeking employment in Michigan, there was nothing for us anywhere. My husband recieved a job offer back in California and with our other children in mind we took the offer, it was a 6 figure income( life style we were used to), so currently we have just done a 3 year lease on a home in california and still my son is stuck in Michigan, vry ubhappy and depressed. In the Mediators recommendations she stated my son is of the sufficent age and maturity to have a preference and that is to be with me, she believes that his dad has not been his provider for everyday life until now and that she is very worried about his emotional well being while with his dad and that he should be enrolled in therapy immediately, I have asked this to happen yet his father is refusing. Now it is coming up to the end of the school year and I want my child back, but to due so My attorney wants 8k to get me first just summer visitation and then will Petition the Court for my son to be returned to me as stated in the Medators recommendation.

What are your thoughts? I have already spent everything I have and my parents have to get this far and I still ahve nothing not even Parenting Time.

What should mI do, I really need help, please.


Heidi McKissick

Jeanne M Hannah


Every case like yours is dependent upon its unique facts. Michigan does not permit removal of children from the state unless the non-custodial parent agrees or the court orders the removal. You need to consult with an attorney about the facts of your case.


When the court says in the best intrest of the child what does that mean in a change domicile case? That child or children being with the custodial parent all their life is that not enough? Meaning would they (court) mind breaking up a family? Now that I have to move away my ex custody. My family has always consisted of my children and I, Ive been single parenting for so long I feel that I have the right to decide and also my child, but I dont know how this works?? What should I do or say?

Jeanne Hannah


Your problem may not be so difficult. However, it's not the 100-mile-rule that is the problem. Your divorce judgment contains a provision that your child's residence may not be removed from the state of Michigan without approval from the court. If your former spouse agrees that you may move, then the court will readily approve an amended judgment that provides for the move.

If your former spouse will not agree, then you'll have to file a motion to remove your child from Michigan to Ohio. Since it will not mean a move of more than 100 miles, you'll have an easir time in court.

Contact me at my email address if you run into problems and need a referral to a family lawyer in the county where your case is pending.

Jeanne Hannah

Jeanne Hannah

Responding to Linda's comment above:

Linda, of course this is unfair . . . but quite frankly, the cost of having a lawyer do a relocation motion would likely be several thousands of dollars and could take up to six months to accomplish. That's why many relocating parents elect to try a negotiated settlement.

My suggestions above about how to get an agreed upon order to relocate are generalized. The first 2 suggestions are really quite optional, and in your case, it may well be that your child's father would agree to the relocation for the mere "price" of lower child support.

If you need more specific information, let me know by email where your case is pending. I can certainly help you if it's one where I practice. I can also help you attempt to negotiate a settlement. In the alternative, I can provide you with a referral to a highly qualified family lawyer if you're located in lower Michigan. You may contact me at

Jeanne Hannah


Your problem may not be so difficult. However, it's not the 100-mile-rule that is the problem. Your divorce judgment contains a provision that your child's residence may not be removed from the state of Michigan without approval from the court. If your former spouse agrees that you may move, then the court will readily approve an amended judgment that provides for the move.

If your former spouse will not agree, then you'll have to file a motion to remove your child from Michigan to Ohio. Since it will not mean a move of more than 100 miles, you'll have an easir time in court.

Contact me at my email address if you run into problems and need a referral to a family lawyer in the county where your case is pending.

Jeanne Hannah

Nadine Cichonski

I have a question about the new 100-mile rule. I have been divorced since 2004. I have full physical custody and joint legal. I am now engaged to a man that lives in Ohio but only 70 road miles away. I'm now living in Oakland county MI. The man i am going to marry can not move out of his area because of his job, he is one of the owners of a business. My job however, benifits me to move to a new location. The area he lives is rated one of the safest and has the highest rated schools in the area. I would like to move me and my child in with him once we are married.
With the new 100 mile rule do i need to file a motion to move and get permision from the court or do i simply just need to fill out the change of address form with Oakland county court?
I would really appreciate your help with an answer to this question so.. much.
Thank you


I just dont understand how can they make a choice like that based on his history with our daughter. He hasn't been there for her physically and now all a sudden now that Im trying to leave now he wants to be apart of her life Im not doing this to be malicious. This is not right! I dont have a problem with him seeing her...over the last 6 yrs Ive basicly been begging him to be involved. Now all a sudden his support from another mother has increase from 300 somthing to 1000 he wants custody so he wont have to pay, because Im leaving! I would consider meeting him 1/2 way, all school vactions and a reduction.

But looking at the best interest for her...not trying to be onesided she would be happier at least he would have to see her because it is court orderd all vacations because in past times he has not gotten her for one vacation he has no other choice but to do it because it's orderd.

Jeanne M Hannah

Linda, it does not sound as though you have a terrific chance of prevailing. Relocation motions are very difficult to win. You need to prove the kinds of things that I mention in my Blog. By that, I mean that you have to convince the court that there are reasons why the move would benefit your child. The court has to look at the evidence presented "with the child as the focus in the court's deliberation."

A Michigan family lawyer whom I very much respect spoke at a seminar a few years ago. His advice was for a person in your position who has a weak argument for relocation to get approval by agreement. He recommended the following:

1) Offer to pay all transportation for the child to and from parenting time with the other parent;
2) Offer virtually all school vacations for parenting time; and
3) Offer a reduction in child support.


Im just wondering what are my chances this is the situation... I filed a motion for change of domicile (reasoning, my father is sick in GA and Im going to take care of him he has no family there besides his wife and she works two jobs) We went to court and since we couldnt come to an agreement we have an evauation coming up(family mediation) he wants custody but for at least the last 4 yrs he hasn't been involved on a consistant basis maybe once a month or so if that he says because of his work, it was suppose to been reasonable parenting time but he didnt want to do reasonable I couldnt make him see her besides he lives walking distance. I dont want to take her from her father in the motion I asked for him to have summer breaks, holidays, and simester breaks whatever his choice. Now since we've been to court he's been picking her up, spending the weekends with him going to the movies 1-3X's a week, going on mini shopping spree's and all sorts of stuff that he said he couldn't do...Im wondering is this going to have any effect on our evaluation??? What will this mediation be like? Im kind of nervous, I don't know what to expect.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Amanda, because your existing court order will provide that you must get permission of the court to remove your child from the State of Michigan, you will need to file a motion to relocate unless your child's father will agree to the move. If he agrees, then you will need to submit this agreement in the form of an Order for the court to enter.

You are fortunate that the "100 mile rule" doesn't apply to you since you have sole legal custody.


We are looking to move and I have Sole Physical and Legal Custody of My Child. The Father and I wrote out a visitation schedule and submitted it to the court system for recording but he does not follow it and it was not court ordered. I am looking to move to Colorado for a new Job with my new partner but I want to make sure there are no legal hangups regarding my daughter.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Because your husband has joint legal custody, his ex-wife does not have the unfettered right to remove the children from the State of Michigan. However, the only way he could prevent this from occurring is to file a motion to change custody.

A strong factor in your husband's favor is the fact that this mother has moved the children 4 times in 7 years and now proposes to move them again. This does not make for a stable, satisfactory custodial environment.


My husband just heard from his ex-wife today that she is planning to move their three kids to Maryland where her husband has found a new job. This isn't new. They were divorced in early 2000. That summer she moved the kids (at that time 4, 5 and 9) with her new husband to Florida, telling my husband that he had no say in the matter, as she could prove it was in the best interest of the children. He did not contest as his lawyer at the time told him he didn't have a chance. He is the non-custodial parent, however, they have joint legal custody. They moved twice while in Florida to different school districts. In March 2005, they moved back to Michigan to the town they were divorced in. He and I moved in 2002 to the home we are currently in, 70 miles south of the divorce town. In August 2006, they moved again to another location in Michigan which was further from our home than the divorce town. They have a support order dated September 2005 in which they were both residing in Michigan stating the domicile shall not be moved out of the state of Michigan. She now thinks she can move to Maryland with the three kids (now 11, 12 and 16) because her husband has a job offer there, again claiming my husband doesn't really have a say. I understand the Brown v Loveman, but when is enough, enough? And what legal action does he have? We have not gotten an attorney to this point because, we have seen fighting her has caused alientation to the children....your input is greatly appreciated.

Jeanne M. Hannah


Judges tend to get angry when a person disobeys a court order. I understand that you thought you were doing the right thing because you had verbal permission from the mother.

The rights of a fit biological parent should always trump the rights of a grandparent. The preference of the child is only one of the factors that a court needs to consider in making a decision regarding custody.

Apparently the biological mother is not now in the picture. But the legal issues involved in a case like yours truly need a lawyer's expertise. You may have a very good case, but I question whether you can make the judge see your constitutional law points without a lawyer involved. This is particularly true if the grandparents are represented.

Jeanne Hannah

Jeanne M. Hannah


You wrote:


Kris, it is important for you to know that the FOC will not help people like your son--it is not their job. You have provided too few facts for me to really answer your question. (It is important to know, for example, whether paternity has been established, whether an Affidavit of Parentage has been signed, which parent has custody, etc.) But the bottom line is this: At the present time, Michigan is your grandson's "Home State" for custody and parenting time purposes. If the mother of this child detains him outside of Michigan for more than 6 months, then WI will become his "Home State" and custody and parenting time decisions will be made in WI.

Your son needs to take legal action NOW.

Jeanne M. Hannah

Kris Jenkins

My son's girlfriend returned to WI for a family visit with my grandson. The amount of time my son approved for her to be gone with his son, was two weeks.
She has now been in WI for 4 wks, with no intentions of moving back.
Can you please direct me as to how to go about getting my grandson back?
My son tried going to the Friend of Court and they told him they could not help him without a lawyer. Is this true?


I have a question..please. Has to do with MCL ?? Not sure what one now...?

I moved 72 miles and crossed Michigan/Indiana State line. I moved with non-custodial parent giving verbal permission, and i didn't seek or have courts permission.

I've always had physical custody for the past 10 years. I managed to loose custody Judge gave Temp. custody to my sons mom. He is 15. Without much correct info Judge gave custody.

Did I or not, make this move in error. I'm confused every tiem I read the MCL codes...?

Thank You Steven

there is an eveditary custody hearing coming up at end of May. I'm trying to handle this pro se.. Son had already informed judge he wants to continue living with me(dad) and siblings here.

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