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Many divorced parents with custody of children are considering moving out of Michigan to take a new job. Many times these parents must move out of state to find acceptable employment to support their families. This issue is complicated when it comes to minor children and the parents share joint legal or physical custody. I recently discussed this topic with a friend whose ex-wife was planning to move from Rochester Hills, Michigan to Ohio.

In cases where the divorced parents share joint legal custody, which is true in almost all cases, any party moving more than 100 miles or outside of Michigan, even if less than 100 miles, must get approval. court before you are allowed to move. This includes the non-custodial parent, so even if one does not have primary physical custody, he or she must get court approval before moving out if you share joint legal custody.

The party that wants to move basically has to show by a preponderance of the evidence, which in simple terms means, a little more likely than not, that they have met the legal requirements. This issue is further complicated if the parents share joint physical custody of the child or if the court finds that there is an established custody environment with both parents.

If the parents share joint physical custody of a child, after the court determines that one parent can move by a preponderance of the evidence, the court must make a decision regarding the change of custody. If the court determines that, from the children’s point of view, the move would change the custody environment, then the court must make a decision regarding a change of custody.

The idea of ​​a custodial setting means that even if the parents do not share physical custody, the following issues may arise in connection with a change in custody if, over a considerable period of time, the child seeks love, affection, guidance and support from both parents. other similar types of parental support.

If the court finds that there is an established custody environment with both parents as described above, the court will revisit the custody issue and the parent who wants to move must prove that it is in the best interest of the child to change custody by making a decision clear and convincing. standard of evidence, which is significantly more stringent than the preponderance of evidence standard noted above.

The best interests of the child is actually a list of 11 different factors and a general phrase of any other factors that the court deems relevant. This can be very difficult for a parent to prove and if the parent fails to do so, despite finding that the above factors have been met to allow the move, the court will change custody of the child to the non-moving parent. This is true even when the child spent more time in the home of the parent proposing the move, as long as the court finds that there is an established custodial environment with both parents. This may not seem fair to a parent who is moving because they cannot find a job, however, the focus is on the children, not the parent facing difficulties.

None of the above applies if the parents do not share joint legal custody. Unfortunately, this means that if one is going through a divorce and there is good reason to believe that they will have to move for work or other reasons, it would be prudent to fight for sole legal custody of the parent who is contemplating such a move. .

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