When there are children involved in a divorce proceeding, it is encumbent upon the parents to foster and encourage a positive relationship with the other parent regardless of how contentious the divorce may have been. The divorce results in a realignment of the family unit which can be followed by further changes that were never even contemplated during the divorce.
One such change is that one of the parents may have an opportunity to move beyond the 100 mile restriction that is contained in all divorce judgments. Common reasons for such a move is to be closer to other extended family that can help raise the children or for a new job opportunity. Either way, the parent requesting the change in domicile must either obtain the agreement and consent of the other parent or if there is no agreement, the parent requesting the move must prove that the legal residence change has the capacity to improve the quality of life for both the child and the relocating parent, that the move is not an effort to deprive the other parent access to the child(ren), that it is possible to fashion a schedule that continues to foster a relationship with the other parent, that the moving parent is not trying to secure a financial advantage over the other parent to reduce a child support obligation and consider whether there is any history of domestic violence.
In McKimmy v. Melling, a recent case decided by the Michigan Court of Appeals, the trial court was found to have misapplied the third factor by simply concluding that the proposed parenting time schedule was not the best plan; but this decision was reversed and sent back to the lower court so that it could deterimine whether the parenting time schedule proposed by plaintiff provided “a realistic opportunity” or “an adequate basis,” to preserve and foster the relationship the non-moving parent had with the children.