You cherish the time you spend with your child. Even though the joint custody arrangement you have with your former spouse seems limited, you are glad to have your child in your life. But what happens when your ex-spouse wants to move to a different state?

Child custody arrangements can be difficult when you live in the same area as your former spouse. But long-distance separations can mean even more custody complications and less time with your child.

30-day notice of relocation

Before a divorced parent with custody can relocate, he or she must notify the ex-spouse. Virginia requires a 30-day notice of relocation and a new address.

However, Virginia law also says that your custody arrangements must be in the best interest of the child. If you can prove that relocation would negatively affect your child, a court may be able to force your former spouse not to move or give up custody to move.

UCCJEA prevents new custody orders in a different state

If the court allows your spouse to move with your child, he or she cannot use the distance to alter the custody or visitation agreement. Almost every state recognizes the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA. This act ensures that other states honor the decision of the court in the child’s original state.

If your former spouse moves and tries to take away your custody rights through the courts of a different state, the UCCJEA blocks that new order and enforces the original one.

Distance makes joint custody difficult

Managing custody arrangements can be complicated. Both parents must learn to share time with their child while keeping the child’s best interests in mind. But when one spouse moves hundreds of miles away, sharing custody can become nearly impossible.

If your former spouse plans to take your child to another state, you may be able to challenge their custody rights in court.