734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

FAMILY LAW 89: Motion to change the domicile of the children.

The parties were married in 2011. In 2016, a consent judgment of divorce was entered. The parties were granted joint legal and physical custody of the children. The parties were afforded equal parenting time.

In 2021, plaintiff filed a motion to change the domicile of the children from Clarkston to Traverse City. She was engaged to a man who lived and worked in Traverse City, and she had a job offer in Traverse City making more money than she was making at her job in Clarkston. Defendant opposed the motion.

Motion for Change of Domicile

A motion for a change of domicile essentially requires a four-step approach.

  1. A trial court must determine whether the moving party has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the factors support a motion for a change of domicile.
  2. If the factors support a change in domicile, then the trial court must then determine whether an established custodial environment exists.
  3. If an established custodial environment exists, the trial court must then determine whether the change of domicile would modify or alter that established custodial environment.
  4. If the trial court finds that a change of domicile would modify or alter the child’s established custodial environment, the trial court must determine whether the change in domicile would be in the child’s best interests.

Hearing

A three-day evidentiary hearing was held. By the time of the evidentiary hearing, plaintiff was remarried and had purchased a home in Traverse City, although plaintiff was continuing to live in a rented home in Clarkston.

Defendant admitted at the evidentiary hearing that he had discussed the court proceedings and the proposed move with the children. The trial court cautioned the parties not to discuss these matters with the children. The trial court interviewed the children in chambers.

The court found that the children had an established custodial environment with both parties. The trial court found that the change of domicile would alter the established custodial environment, and the court thus evaluated the best-interest factors of MCL 722.23. The court found that the parties were equal on most of the factors. The court found that plaintiff was favored on factor (j) because defendant had inappropriately discussed the proposed move and the court proceedings with the children. The court considered the reasonable preferences of the children under factor (i).

There were facts other than plaintiff’s increased income at the job in Traverse City indicating that the proposed move had the capacity to improve the children’s overall quality of life. Plaintiff’s job in Traverse City would afford her a flexible schedule so that she could care for the children. The children would have a larger home with more space outdoors to engage in sports and activities that they enjoy. The school in Traverse City was rated similar to the school attended in Clarkston, and the children could continue their extracurricular activities in Traverse City.

The court determined that plaintiff had established by clear and convincing evidence that the change of domicile was in the best interests of the children.

Revised Parenting Time

The court granted defendant extensive in-person parenting time, including on weekends, summer breaks, spring breaks, and school holidays. Defendant was to have regular telephonic and electronic contact with the children, including through Skype, Facetime, text messages, and Google Duo.

Assistance With Custody

It is important to remember that decrees regarding child custody and parenting time are not always final. Circumstances change all the time, which is why it is possible to seek a post-decree modification. If a custody motion does not turn out like you thought it would, you may not have the custody or parenting time you deserve. Seek the advice and guidance of an experienced family law attorney who will be by your side every step of the way.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

FAMILY LAW 88: The trial court found that the children did not have an established custodial environment with defendant because, before the separation, he did not have a large role in the children’s lives.

The trial court credited plaintiff’s testimony that, before the parties’ separation, defendant spent minimal time helping to care for the children, so its finding that the children would not have looked to defendant for guidance, discipline, the necessities of life, and parental comfort during that time was not against the great weight of the evidence.

REAL ESTATE 89: RM had not included any language in the deed providing that the property was a joint tenancy with full rights of survivorship, the property instead became a tenancy in common.

RM drafted the deed without seeking counsel and mistakenly believed that, if either she or FK died, the property would fully pass to the surviving tenant. FK’s will provided that if his wife predeceased him—which she did—the personal representative of his estate should sell any residual property that he owned and divide the cash proceeds equally among his surviving children.

FAMILY LAW 83: A trial court can terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child.

A trial court has discretion to terminate a parent’s rights and permit a stepparent to adopt a child when the conditions of MCL 710.51(6) are met. MCL 710.51(6)(b) requires the petitioner to establish that the other parent had the ability to visit, contact, or communicate with the children, and substantially failed or neglected to do so for a period of two years.

PROBATE 53: The trust agreement included an Incontestability Provision.

A settlor’s intent is to be carried out as nearly as possible. Generally, in terrorem clauses are valid and enforceable. However, a provision in a trust that purports to penalize an interested person for contesting the trust or instituting another proceeding relating to the trust shall not be given effect if probable cause exists for instituting a proceeding contesting the trust or another proceeding relating to the trust.

FAMILY LAW 82: Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order (PPO) after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

However, the trial court concluded that these matters should, in fact, be in the province and the jurisdiction of the Family Division and in that respect, having issued a personal protection order, the Court stated it would terminate the personal protection order after the parties present documentation of the initiation of the divorce proceedings.

What to Do When Homeowners Insurance Denies Your Claim

Since 1955, homeowners insurance has helped owners protect their property and belongings against damages and theft. According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 93% of homeowners in the US have homeowners insurance coverage, paying around...

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