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Can she move?

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What is the name of your state? Michigan

I apologize for the length of the post. I am going to try to be as brief as possible, but I would like to tell all the pertinent facts so I can get an accurate opinion.
My soon to be ex wife and I separated a little over 2 yrs ago. I moved out of the house into a place nearby so I could still spend time with our sons. I continued to make the house payment on the marital home, paid her electric bill, her van payment and insurance. The boys sleep over at my home every week on my two consecutive days off, per agreement between their mother and me. I pick them up from their bus stop on school days and they stay with me until 8 pm, when their mother gets off of work. We had not filed for divorce until recently due to the cost and the fact that we were able to reach a reasonable agreement on our own.
This past summer the boys’ mother informed me she wanted to move out of state. I had a real problem with this and told her so. I didn’t want my relationship with my sons to suffer because of the distance. I asked her why she wanted to move and she said something about wanting to be closer to her family. While I understand that, I don’t feel it is right for her to take them that far away.
She filed for divorce. A meeting was set up with Friend of the Court to start child support, set parenting time and establish custody. I have no problem with her having physical custody of the boys, mainly because I work the midnight shift and they would have to sleep at her home anyway. It was discussed and decided that we would have joint legal custody with her being the custodial parent. After the meeting, her lawyer asked me if I would be willing to agree to the boys’ mother moving them out of state. I responded that I would not.
My support and parenting time recommendation came in the mail. She was unhappy with the amount of support ordered and told me so. (The amount would only be enough to cover her house payment and electric bill; she would have to pay her van payment and insurance out of her own pocket.)
Our oldest son started telling me he wanted to live with me. I told him that it would be impossible because there would be no one home to take care of him on the nights I had to work.
Apparently, on Halloween he told his mother he wanted to live with me. When I arrived at her home to pick up the boys to take them trick or treating, she began screaming and yelling at me. Our sons were in the back seat of the car, while she held the door open so she could yell at me. She said I would never take the boys away from her. She said if she wanted to move out of state, I couldn’t stop her and that I would never see them again. I asked her if we could have the conversation where the boys couldn’t hear. She completely ignored my request. I tried to tell her I had already told our oldest he couldn’t live with me. But for some reason she has it in her head that I put him up to it and she is pissed.
So, now to my question, the support and parenting time recommendation are just that, a recommendation. The judge has yet to sign them. This is supposed to happen next month at a meeting that was scheduled by Friend of the Court. She is leaving November 15th with the boys to go to her brother’s wedding. I am afraid she is not coming back. What can I do about this if anything?
Thank you in advance for reading my longwinded post and for any advice you can give me.




There is a recommendation on "parenting time." Was the specific issue of her moving with the boys addressed? If not, then there is nothing to prevent her from moving and from her moving with the boys.


Senior Member

Act 91 of 1970

722.31 Legal residence change of child whose parental custody governed by court order.
Sec. 11.
(1) A child whose parental custody is governed by court order has, for the purposes of this section, a legal residence with each parent. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a parent of a child whose custody is governed by court order shall not change a legal residence of the child to a location that is more than 100 miles from the child's legal residence at the time of the commencement of the action in which the order is issued.
(2) A parent's change of a child's legal residence is not restricted by subsection (1) if the other parent consents to, or if the court, after complying with subsection (4), permits, the residence change. This section does not apply if the order governing the child's custody grants sole legal custody to 1 of the child's parents.
(3) This section does not apply if, at the time of the commencement of the action in which the custody order is issued, the child's 2 residences were more than 100 miles apart. This section does not apply if the legal residence change results in the child's 2 legal residences being closer to each other than before the change.
(4) Before permitting a legal residence change otherwise restricted by subsection (1), the court shall consider each of the following factors, with the child as the primary focus in the court's deliberations:
(a) Whether the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent.
(b) The degree to which each parent has complied with, and utilized his or her time under, a court order governing parenting time with the child, and whether the parent's plan to change the child's legal residence is inspired by that parent's desire to defeat or frustrate the parenting time schedule.
(c) The degree to which the court is satisfied that, if the court permits the legal residence change, it is possible to order a modification of the parenting time schedule and other arrangements governing the child's schedule in a manner that can provide an adequate basis for preserving and fostering the parental relationship between the child and each parent; and whether each parent is likely to comply with the modification.
(d) The extent to which the parent opposing the legal residence change is motivated by a desire to secure a financial advantage with respect to a support obligation.
(e) Domestic violence, regardless of whether the violence was directed against or witnessed by the child.
(5) Each order determining or modifying custody or parenting time of a child shall include a provision stating the parent's agreement as to how a change in either of the child's legal residences will be handled. If such a provision is included in the order and a child's legal residence change is done in compliance with that provision, this section does not apply. If the parents do not agree on such a provision, the court shall include in the order the following provision: “A parent whose custody or parenting time of a child is governed by this order shall not change the legal residence of the child except in compliance with section 11 of the “Child Custody Act of 1970”, 1970 PA 91, MCL 722.31.”.
(6) If this section applies to a change of a child's legal residence and the parent seeking to change that legal residence needs to seek a safe location from the threat of domestic violence, the parent may move to such a location with the child until the court makes a determination under this section.
History: Add. 2000, Act 422, Imd. Eff. Jan. 9, 2001 .

© 2003 Legislative Council, State of Michigan


Thank You

Thank you to both Boxcarbill and Veronica Gia for your helpful information.

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