Circuit Court Family Division LC No. 2016-839363-DM
Before: O'Brien, P.J., and Jansen and Murray, JJ.
appeals by leave granted a March 24, 2017 order denying without
prejudice defendant's motion to change domicile and
relocate with the parties' daughter to Pakistan. The
underlying facts are not in dispute.
and defendant, both Pakistani citizens, were married in
Pakistan on June 24, 2011, and relocated to the United
States, where plaintiff resided with an employment visa. In
2015, defendant moved to Michigan to live with her aunt,
while plaintiff continued to reside in Maryland. The
couples' only daughter was born in Oakland County on
January 1, 2016. The parties divorced on December 21, 2016.
Pursuant to the judgment of divorce, the parties would share
joint legal custody of the minor child while defendant would
maintain sole physical custody. The divorce judgment
contained a provision prohibiting the exercise of parenting
time in any country not a party to the Hague convention. At
that time, the prohibition applied to Pakistan. Challenging
only the trial court's denial of her motion for attorney
fees, defendant filed a claim of appeal from the divorce
judgment. That appeal is pending before this Court in Docket
March 2017, defendant filed the motion to change domicile
that is the subject of this appeal, expressing her desire to
relocate with the minor child to Pakistan as soon as possible
and claiming that Pakistan had completed steps to become a
party to the Hague convention since entry of the judgment of
divorce. Plaintiff objected, arguing that the trial court
lacked authority to set aside or amend the judgment of
divorce while defendant's appeal from the judgment of
divorce was still pending before this Court. Defendant
responded that her appeal was limited to the issue of
attorney fees, and did not preclude the trial court's
consideration of custody matters. The trial court adopted
plaintiff's position and entered an order dismissing
defendant's motion for change of domicile without
prejudice, reasoning that pursuant to MCR 7.208(A), it lacked
jurisdiction to modify any component of the judgment of
filed a motion for reconsideration in the trial court,
arguing that under MCR 7.208(A)(4), the trial court was not
limited by the pending appeal from considering modification
of the divorce judgment "as otherwise provided by
law." Defendant argued that because MCL 722.27(1)(c) and
MCL 522.17(1) permit a trial court to consider issues related
to custody as they arise, the trial court did not need to
wait for resolution of the pending appeal before it
considered her motion for change of domicile on the merits.
In support of her position, defendant cited our Supreme
Court's holding in Lemmen v Lemmen, 481 Mich.
164, 167; 749 N.W.2d 255 (2008), where the Court specifically
held that MCL 552.17(1) satisfied the exception of MCR
7.208(A)(4). The trial court denied defendant's motion,
concluding that Lemmen's holding was limited to
judgments concerning child or spousal support and did not
extend to changes relating to custody or changes of domicile.
appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred when it
concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the merits
of her motion for change of domicile because the trial court
was authorized to consider the issue of domicile under MCR
7.208(A)(4), MCL 722.27(1)(c) and MCL 552.17(1). We agree.
proper interpretation and application of a statute presents a
question of law that we review de novo." Petersen v
Magna Corp, 484 Mich. 300, 306; 773 N.W.2d 564 (2009).
"We interpret court rules using the same principles that
govern the interpretation of statutes." Ligons v
Crittenton Hosp, 490 Mich. 61, 70; 803 N.W.2d 271
(2011). "Our goal when interpreting and applying
statutes or court rules is to give effect to the plain
meaning of the text. If the text is unambiguous, we apply the
language as written without construction or
interpretation." Id. We also review de novo the
question of a trial court's subject-matter jurisdiction.
Clohset v No Name Corp, 302 Mich.App. 550, 559; 840
N.W.2d 375 (2013).
pertinent part, MCR 7.208(A) provides:
After a claim of appeal is filed or leave to appeal is
granted, the trial court or tribunal may not set aside or
amend the judgment or order appealed from except
(1) by order of the Court of Appeals,
(2) by stipulation of the parties,
(3) after a decision on the merits in an action in which a