When confronted with the possibility of your child being relocated, your first reaction might be to panic. However, as family law attorney Rebecca Wade explains, there are ways to stop a custody relocation from taking place.

Unless both parents are in agreement, the parent who wishes to move with the child must be granted permission from the court before so doing. “So if you’re a parent who wants to stop a relocation, the first thing you need to do is file a motion in court to enjoin the relocation,” says Wade. “Make it very clear in writing to the other parent and in court that you object and do not agree to the child relocating.”

In addition to clearly stating your opposition to the relocation, it’s important to consider your level of parental involvement. “If you haven’t been involved in the child’s schooling, actively co-parenting and going to extracurricular activities, those factors may count against you if you are trying to stop a relocation,” explains Wade.

You need to seriously ask yourself if you are in a position to take custody of your own child. Some questions to consider are:

  • Do you have room for the child in your life?
  • Is your lifestyle amenable to caring for the child full time?
  • Can you provide the best care possible for your child?

If your answer is “yes” to all of these questions, then you must be able to prove to the judge that you are a viable custody alternative.

“These cases can be highly contentious and the more combative the parents are at the start, the worse the relocation process is going to be,” says Wade. “The better relationship the parents have, the better it’s going to go.”

Wade says as soon as you know there’s potential for a custody relocation, you should immediately consult an attorney to weigh the circumstances as a whole. “That way, you can start preparing your case and hopefully recognize that it’s not a situation where you’re going to lose your child. The situation can be worked out and handled in a way that benefits the child.”