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Jeanne M. Hannah

Dear Nervous Mom,

First, try to negotiate this with your about to be ex-husband. If he refuses to agree to your move in the judgment of divorce, then you should file a motion to move your child's legal residence.

State all of the facts you gave in your question to me here. See if the referee will, because your ex chose to move 87 miles away, give you the same option, under the circumstances. If not, be prepared to drive the extra XX miles to the exchange point halfway between your now residence and your new residence. Thank should help you to accomplish your goal.

Nervous Mom

My ex-husband has decided to move in with his girlfriend and new baby 87 miles away from Grand Rapids- where we filed and have lived. He was granted this move because he was not seeking sole physical custody of our daughter. The divorce is not yet final, and we are hoping to negotiate parenting time. However, I now have an opportunity to move myself- 87 miles in the opposite direction. I have been at poverty level income and unable to pay my rent without assistance and the move would provide a 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment free of rent and all utilities. It also would put my daughter and I closer to my family- a very strong support system- and provide her a much better school to attend. Since I was going to be the primary custodian anyway, and my ex a weekend parent by choice, I'm wondering about the procedure for seeking approval from the court to move. Do I need it, since its within 100 miles of the domicile? Do I not need it? Can he object even though the move will not impact the parenting time arrangement?


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Jeanne M Hannah

Hello WDN,

How the court will handle your motion for relocation will depend much upon the county in which your case is pending. Some counties have adopted hard and fast policies that it will be a very rare casew in which a relocation will be permitted.

It sounds as though the facts of your case lend themselves well, however, to approval -- especially the fact that the non-custodial parent hasn't used all of his parenting time.

You might call me tomorrow morning to discuss this more fully. Jeanne M. Hannah

DeeDee (please do not include in response)

Hi Jeanne,

I live in Michigan. I was recently offered a position in North Carolina with a September 2 start date. I currently have full legal and physical custody of my son. My son's father has parenting time every other weekend. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am going to have to file a Change of Domicile motion as he will not readily consent to the move.

The position involves an incredible increase in salary. Positions in my field are few and far between. The current economy in Michigan is somewhat of an influence in my decision to make this move. However, I know that an opportunity like this will not be available any time soon. As you can see, I need this process to happen expeditiously. My question at this point is how long will this process take? Also, what kinds of proof will I need to convince the court of the improved quality of life for myself and my son?

To give a little background, the father did not enter our lives until my son was almost 6 years old. Additionally, once there was an order in place, he was not consistent with visitation or support. In fact, there was a bench warrant for his arrest for non-payment of support until the end of 2004. Therefore, out of fear of arrest, the non-custodial parent elected to not avail himself of his parenting obligations. The non-custodial parent is supposed to have three weeks of parenting time every summer. He has yet to take our son for more than a week per summer. I will say that the non-custodial parent is not a bad parent or person, just inconsistent. Consequently, with the exception of the weekend time, the non-custodial parent is not very involved in our son's life. I would like to know if I have a reasonable chance of having my motion approved.

Best regards

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