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Moving Children Too Often Can Have Custody Consequences

Family LawThere are very specific rules related to the custody of children following a divorce. While the initial custody arrangements are usually handled as part of divorce proceedings, certain events can and should trigger a revisiting of the custody arrangement. If you’re currently dealing with custody problems, speaking with a family law lawyer in Van Buren County is the first step in ensuring your rights as a parent are protected.

For example, did you know that moving around with your children can be grounds for new custody proceedings?

About the Case

Consider this case out of the Michigan Court of Appeals: a man and a woman get married and have two children. They later divorce and are awarded joint legal custody, with the woman being granted primary physical custody. The woman then marries a man in the military, a circumstance that results in several long-distance moves for her and the children. The original husband then petitions the court for physical custody of the children due to the frequent moves.

The trial court declined the man’s motion on the grounds of finding “insufficient evidence” to revisit the custody arrangement. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals has elected to overturn this ruling and is now requiring a new custody hearing to establish new custody guidelines based on the current circumstances of the arrangement. In other words, the frequent moving of the primary physical custody holder was grounds enough to require that the custody issue be revisited.

There’s a lot of technicality to the case, as it rotates around a couple of core statutes in Michigan law. Essentially, the law dictates that the court revisit custody arrangements when one parent is planning a move. The woman involved received permission for her first move, but did not seek permission for the moves that followed. Because the statute does not exempt additional moves from existing legal obligations and because the mother was unable to provide legal precedent for her actions, the Court of Appeals is requiring a re-opening of the custody arrangement.

This does not necessarily mean that the woman will lose custody of her children, only that the custody arrangement will be revisited by a court. Working with an experienced and reputable family law lawyer in Van Buren County is the best way to ensure decisions like this do not catch you off-guard during a custody hearing and do not negatively impact your proceedings. For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our prominent lawyers at Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC contact us at 269.982.1100 or visit www.pjjfamilyprobatelaw.com.

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