Your child’s custody order may not have caused much trouble between you and your ex in the past, but now that they are planning to move to another country, things have changed. If this is happening to you, you must know that your ex cannot take your child without your or the court’s permission. If you disagree with the move, the court will hold a hearing to modify the order. If the judge sees that the move won’t benefit your child, they may transfer full custody of your child to you.
The court’s permission
The other custodial parent cannot take your child to another country just because they want to. They need a good reason and legal permission from the court to move abroad with your child. It is easier for parents with sole custody of a child to get this permission. Still, it is also possible for a parent to obtain it if they share custody with the other parent.
Your child’s best interests
Your ex-partner must let you know about their intentions, and you have the right to object to the move. If you do this, the court may have to modify the order to solve the dispute. In the hearing for the modification of the order, you have the right to explain to the judge why the move would not benefit the child. The judge will deny the move if they see that it won’t be in your child’s best interests, which is what matters the most to them. To determine the child’s best interest, the courts consider:
- The reason for the move
- If the move will benefit the child in some way (better educational or cultural opportunities, living closer to family members, etc.)
- The relationship the child has with both parents
- The distance of the move
- The need for stability in the child’s life
- The child’s current ties to their community, including family members, school, friends and community activities
- The child’s preferences (if they are old and mature enough to make such a decision)
You must keep in mind that the court will always favor frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Because of this, they may not accept the move or transfer full custody to the other parent if the relationship you have with your child is good and healthy.
Fighting for your child
You could ask for more visitation rights and modify an existing parenting plan if your ex insists on the move. However, spending time with the kids virtually or over the summer may not be enough. It is your child also, so you have the right to ask the court to transfer full physical custody to you if you can prove that the move could negatively affect your child and the unique relationship you have with them.