Divorce can be hard on children, which is why it’s so important to have a solid parenting plan once you’re done with the process. But that may not stop their other parent from trying to uproot and take the children out of your reach.

Courts can allow for changes in parenting plans, including making relationships long-distance. But even if you don’t have sole custody of your children, you still have rights that the other parent needs to respect. These rights prevent them from just picking up and moving your children to a new location without your – or the court’s – explicit permission.

Heading them off

The first step is to check the custody agreement. You’ll want to make sure that you didn’t agree to anything long-distance. That doesn’t mean they can’t attempt to modify the deal, but they will need to go through the process. It starts by filing a notice of intent well ahead of the move, stating their plan to take your children an unmanageable distance away. When this notice goes through, you can request a hearing before a judge.

Altering course

You can make your case at the hearing, and the courts will rule on your reasons for objection. Changing schools, disrupting contact and eroding support systems can all count against the transfer. The courts can take the opinions of your children into account if they’re old enough, but it will likely be one factor among many.

Successful opposition may rest on how well you can show the courts that transplanting will be detrimental to your children. Crafting an argument based around the law can be difficult, but understanding the requirements for stopping a move can be an important first step.