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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

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

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.

Al

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?

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?

Jeanne M Hannah

Marah,

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

JAF

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

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.

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