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« Domestic violence and judicial protection | Main | Modification of alimony / spousal support | The need for precise language »


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Timothy P. Flynn

Here is yet another case where the appellate court, sitting in review, is hesitant to condone the highly disruptive (and oft traumatic) event of a change of domicile that is unwanted by one of the parents. These cases are especially troubling where, as here, there is an established custodial environment in both homes. What is really sad about this is that the Father apparently feels life would be better for his kids down in Texas, so far away from their Mother.

Jeanne, thanks for this informative post.

Kami Wagner

I have a motion I am filing myself and my ex-husband is in the military stationed overseas. What is the proper procedure for serving him. He is not represented by an attorney. I have is APO address but I am not sure this is proper. This is purtaining to a custoday issue.

Jeanne M Hannah


Military servicepersons are protected from change in custody motions while they are deployed on active duty. See this prior post on the Blog - Military Deployments and Child Custody Orders published on July 19, 2006. It explains all of the difficulties associated with family law issues that crop up during deployment of one of the parties.

An APO address will never be sufficient to notify your former spouse of a court proceeding of this nature. You need to be clear with the court about his active military status or your lack of candor might later be used against you.

Jeanne M Hannah


Jeanne, In the Skeins vs. Mead case it says that the mother re-located to Tx. not the father. So did you mean to say that the mother should have custody in Tx. or the father should have the children in Mi?

Beth Schuman

Missy, are you asking about Timothy P. Flynn's post above: "What is really sad about this is that the Father apparently feels life would be better for his kids down in Texas, so far away from their Mother." Cause that confused me too. i haven't yet read the actual case yet.

child custody agreement

I recently came across your blog and have been reading about child custody agreement. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Jeanne M Hannah

I'm glad you are finding the information useful. Please pass along to your clients as appropriate. You may sign up for email alerts so that when new items are posted, you will be notified. If the topic doesn't interest you . . . that's what the delete key is for. Jeanne

Eric Wegner

My ex-wife has physical custody of our 3 children ages 13, 11 & 8 and it states in our decree that she can't move over 100 miles. She is graduating from college in May with an interior design degree and is claiming she can't find a job in MI even though she has hardly looked. She asked what my sentiments were on her moving and I told her I would be against it because I would not be able to have my normal visitation with my children. She is now telling the children they are going to move out-of-state---what should I do now?

Jeanne M Hannah


The ball is in her court. If she moves without first seeking permission from the court, she will be in contempt of the provision in your judgment that states that the domicile of the children may not be moved from Michigan without the court's permission. She would be casting a negative aura on her case if she makes this unilateral decision to move without getting your permission and the court's permission. Make it clear to her in a writing (email with BCC to yourself) that you oppose her moving outside the state).

She will have to file a motion for permission to change the children's domicile and for permission to move more than 100 miles away. Whether or not she can get such permission will depend upon several factors, including your opposition, your relationship and parenting time with the children (including your faithful exercise of parenting time), and, perhaps, which circuit court has jurisdiction over your case. Courts are seeing more relocation motions because of the poor economy in Michigan. I understand from colleagues that some requests are granted. The specific facts of your case will control.


My ex has been residing in Colorado since 2005. My daughter was born in Colorado but she and I moved to Michigan in 2006 as his family was in Michigan and they were willing to help me with my daughter. The divorce was finalized through Michigan court in 2008. We have join legal custody and I have sole physical custody.
The last time he saw her in Michigan was July of 2007 for less than a week. The last time he saw her period was in Colorado for about 3 days in October of 2008 when his mom visited him and took my daughter.
Now my daughter and I are trying to move out of Michigan and move to Florida. I have a better job ready for me along with fiance there.
The current visitation time in the divorce decree is liberal.
He has not filed for a motion to have the visitation time changed either.

Also, he is agreeing to us moving under the condition of every summer and alternating holiday visitation time. I have no problem in him spending time with her as I do want her to get to know him but she has never been around him alone or spend any nights with him. She is 4 years old and I do not feel it is in her best interest. I feel we should start building up the time to ensure she gets comfortable with him and so on. My lawyer is telling me to just agree stating that the FOC guideline states that my ex is entitled to 12 weeks of over night visits and her age of 4 is old enough where the court will not count the fact that she never spent a night with him into consideration and he will be granted with full summer anyways.

Do you see any possibility that the court would grant for us to move in this case? As he is not even in Michigan anyways...and has not really seen her...?

Is what my lawyer telling me true and is her age not a fact for consideration in determining the overnight visit time?

Also, if I didn't agree to my ex's proposal and have the court decide on the change of domicile, isn't he required to file a separate motion in order to change the current visitation time of "liberal"? Or does the visitation time have to be changed first for the court to grant the change of domicile?

I am trying to get your opinion and thinking about changing lawyer if what he says is not true as my lawyer doesn't seem to have my and my little one's best interest but is just trying to close the case...

Thank you.

Jeanne M Hannah

HJ, what county is your case in?

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