734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

Court denied the defendant-mother's motion to change children's domicile.

Defendant and plaintiff are the parents of twin girls who were born in 2007. The parties were never married. They lived together for approximately four years after the children were born, but separated in March 2011. There is no dispute that plaintiff and defendant both continued to live in Saranac, Michigan after they separated. Parties have joint legal custody of the children and require plaintiff to receive reasonable and liberal parenting time according to the mutual agreement of the parties. The court also ordered plaintiff to pay child support.

In 2016, defendant moved the trial court under MCL 722.31(4) to change her and the children's domicile from Saranac to Grayling, Michigan. Defendant alleged that she intended to marry in June 2016, and that her soon to be husband lived in Grayling. She argued that moving to Grayling had the capacity to improve her own and the children's quality of life for various reasons. For instance, she argued that moving to Grayling would allow her to stop working and devote more time to the children. She also argued that the move would allow the children to live in a nicer house and attend a better school, and that Grayling had more outdoor activities than Saranac. Defendant asserted that plaintiff failed to take full advantage of his parenting time, and that the parenting-time schedule could be modified to preserve his relationship with the children despite the move. In response, plaintiff argued that the move to Grayling would alienate the children from him and negatively impact his relationship with them. He argued that the move would make it difficult for him to actively participate in the children's everyday lives.

Plaintiff explained that he participated in day-to-day activities with the children, such as attending their softball games, volunteering at their school, attending parent-teacher conferences, helping the children with their homework, and exercising occasional overnight visits during the school week. Plaintiff testified that the children liked going to school in Saranac and they had many friends there. He testified that the children had no family or friends in Grayling, and if they moved there, it would be more difficult for him to participate in their daily lives. Visits would require the children to ride in a vehicle for five hours and winter weather would make visits difficult.

The trial court found that allowing a change of domicile to Grayling had the capacity to improve defendant's life, but because she was now already married to her new husband, she already had his financial support regardless of whether the trial court granted her request to move. The trial court further found that allowing the children to move to Grayling would reduce plaintiff's involvement in their lives, and that it would not be possible to alter the parenting-time schedule to preserve plaintiff's relationship with the children in light of the significant distance between Saranac and Grayling. Accordingly, the trial court denied defendant's motion.

On appeal, the court found that defendant failed to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that a change of domicile was warranted under the factors in MCL 722.31(4) because the support she received from her new husband was not dependent on moving, the benefit of the schools and extracurricular activities available to the children . . . would be offset by plaintiff's decreased involvement in their day-to-day lives, plaintiff exercised his parenting time whenever he could, and there was no evidence that the children were exposed to domestic violence or that plaintiff's opposition to the move resulted from improper financial motives.

If you are going through a divorce or are separating from the mother or father of your children, it is important to protect your custodial rights. If the process does not turn out like you thought it would, you may not have the custody, visitation or child support you deserve. Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced family law and divorce attorney who will be by your side every step of the way.

Choosing the right executor for an estate

When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another important issue that people need to think...

Is an IRA marital property subject to division?

Plaintiff, age 67 at the time of divorce, and defendant, age 59 at the time of divorce, were married for 23 years. The judgment of divorce provides for a division of property. Defendant appeals arguing that the trial court erred in determining the...

Digital assets and estate planning

Since the first smartphones were introduced nearly a decade ago, there has been a gradual shift from widespread use of traditional paper documents to digital documents. If you need proof, consider that most people have plane tickets on their phones,...

Child Support Modification

Plaintiff sought an increase in child support, claiming the defendant-father's income had increased substantially, which constituted a change in circumstances. In July 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to modify child support. In that motion,...

A divorce shouldn't thwart your estate planning goals

We all know that divorce is not easy, no matter how ready you may be to get out of a troubled marriage. There are certainly emotional hurdles to overcome as you move on with life, and the financial hurdles may take longer to get over than you may...

Creditor's Rights Against Estates and Trusts

The probate court denied a petition for formal proceedings. The petition further identifies the petitioner as a "creditor" of the estate and states that "Litigation against the Estate is pending." Appellee is the widow and was...

What to know about will contests

You create an estate plan to make sure your heirs and beneficiaries are taken care of in the event you are no longer able to. You may also do so to minimize the bickering and infighting that may come between surviving family members who may have...

Why the disdain for the estate tax

With the federal income tax filing deadline coming this week, it is a good time to talk about taxes and how they may apply to estates. While federal estate tax applies to few estates (i.e. those valued at more than $3.5 million), it continues to be...

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical given the stigma against...

Should college students have wills?

If your child is getting ready to graduate from high school this spring, you are probably amazed with how quickly the years have gone by since they first started kindergarten. This also means that you are getting older too, and you have probably...

Considerations in evaluating the prosecution's case

If you have been charged with a crime, it is essential to know how strong the government’s case is against you. Indeed, you may think the state has a flimsy case and has a snowball’s chance to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,...

The benefits of home health care providers

While the Affordable Health Care Act is poised to be amended or replaced completely, the law still has a number of useful provisions that some legislators are uncomfortable parting with. For instance, the current version allows states to create...

What to know about bail conditions

If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and proving your innocence. Under state and...

More spent on aging parents than on raising children

Much has been reported on the escalating costs parents face in raising a child. From birth to age 18, it is estimated that parents spend an average of $234,000 to raise a child. But when it comes to caring for an elderly parent, the costs are...

Trial court enters divorce default judgment.

Plaintiff filed divorce action after a nearly 20-year marriage. Although defendant apparently participated in various pretrial conferences and discussed the terms of the divorce judgment, he did not answer the complaint, a default was entered, and...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
consultation
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000
734-237-6482
734-366-4405