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MI court makes it harder for non-custodial dad to block new parenting plan

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network


The Michigan Court of Appeals has set new limits on the rights of non-custodial parents to challenge plans by the other parent to move their children far away.

In this case, the mother has physical custody during the week and the father has their two young sons on the weekends. The father objected when the mother remarried and asked the Jackson County Circuit Court to allow her to move their children to North Dakota. She proposed a new parenting arrangement where the father would get the boys for 10 weeks in the summer and alternating holidays. The father said that's too much time apart from his kids, and the court agreed that it was too big a change from the existing parenting plan.

But the Court of Appeals ruled the judge could not compare what the mother proposed against the existing arrangement - only whether the new plan still allowed the father a realistic opportunity to preserve and foster a relationship with his children. That is now the standard in custody battles.

The decision could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

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