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FAMILY LAW 27: Court would have to examine the best-interest factors to change school districts.

Plaintiff filed for divorce on September 1, 2017, after defendant and the children left the marital home in Bay County, due to plaintiff’s alleged physical abuse, and moved into the home of defendant’s mother in Kent County.

Following a hearing in September 2017, the trial court denied plaintiff’s emergency motion to require that the children attend school in Bay County for the 2017-2018 school year. Instead, the court ordered that the children would attend school in Kent County.

A contested custody hearing was held over two days in July 2018. After the parties presented their proofs, the trial court made findings on each of the best-interest factors in MCL 722.23.

After examining the best-interest factors in MCL 722.23, the court found that there are substantial and compelling reasons to make a change. The change to which the court was referring does not appear to be to the school but, rather, to the community in which the children would reside.

Although the court did not explicitly state that an established custodial environment existed with defendant, it implied that such an environment existed. The court’s consideration of the best-interest factors also suggests that the court found the existence of an established custodial environment with defendant.

The court shall not modify or amend its previous judgments or orders or issue a new order so as to change the established custodial environment of a child unless there is presented clear and convincing evidence that it is in the best interest of the child.

In order to modify the established custodial environment, such as through the change of school districts, the court would have to find by clear and convincing evidence that such custodial modification is in the best interests of the children.

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.

Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced family law and divorce attorney who will be by your side every step of the way.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

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