November 15, 2018

Dealing with the issue of jurisdiction

For many divorcees, moving away from Farmington Hills may seem to be an attractive option. Doing so may help to ease any tension that still exists between them and their ex-spouses. Given that research data shared by Psychology Today shows that 16 percent of Americans move every year (with 43 percent of those completely leaving the metropolitan areas they currently reside in), it may not be unreasonable to assume that parental relocation is an issue that many divorced couples will eventually face. When one parent relocates with the kids, the question of which family court has jurisdiction over their custody case will almost certainly come up.

Typically, the state that can claim to be a child’s “home state” is the one that will have jurisdiction. Per the Michigan Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, the state defines “home state” as being the one in which a child has been living with a parent (or guardian) for at least six months before the commencement of custody proceedings. The home state of newborns that are less than six months old is the one in which they have lived from birth. If the law designates Michigan as a child’s home state, then the local family court has jurisdiction (this holds even if a child has moved out of state within the last six months, yet one parent continues to live here).

If another state that would otherwise be considered a child’s home state declines to exercise its right to jurisdiction, Michigan courts can then step in and claim. This typically occurs when, after review, a court determines that another state (likely that which a divorced parent and their children came from) would be the more appropriate forum in which to determine custody.