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Ways to Stop or Challenge a Custodial Parent’s Relocation

A number of our blogs over time have discussed the “how to” of a good faith relocation. Unfortunately, sometimes a parent gets blinded by the desire to move and loses sight of the fact this may not be in the children’s best interests; and he or she may provide very little or no notice and relocate. This blog addresses the potential remedies to stop or challenge a custodial parent’s relocation with the child by the non-custodial parent.

When the custodial parent provides timely notice of relocation, the non-custodial parent can object in one of two recognized ways. The first is to file a motion to prevent the relocation or contest it. Secondly, as relocation may not be in the children’s best interest and a substantial change, the non-custodial parent may file a motion to modify custody. Doing so necessitates a hearing and the relocating parent must prove “that the relocation is made in good faith and for a legitimate reason.”1

If this showing is made, the burden shifts to non-custodial parent to demonstrate that the proposed relocation is not in the best interests of the child. If the non-custodial parent establishes his or her burden, trial court’s often give the relocating parent the choice of relocating and custody being modified to non-custodial parent or staying put with custody remaining the same. This is because the move is a substantial change that will occur allowing this type of ruling.

In rare cases, a custodial parent just moves. There are a number of legal tools to force the return of the child until the matter can be heard. This generates ill-will between parents and is not looked upon favorably by courts. Ultimately, moving without notice may in itself be a substantial change in circumstances to allow modification of custody to the non-custodial parent.

Ultimately, Indiana trial courts are provided with a great deal of discretion by the Legislature to meet a child’s best interests. This is particularly the case with relocations of any distance. Thus, a non-custodial parent has as many rights to challenge the relocation if it is not in the child’s best interests and is done for spite.

Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle challenges to proposed child custody relocations as well as represent clients who desire to relocate with their child. This blog post was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. This blog post is written for general educational purposes; it is not a solicitation for services or legal advice. It is advertising material.


  1. Ind.Code 31-17-2.2-5.
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Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., is a law firm located in Indianapolis, Indiana. We serve clients in six core practice areas: family lawappellate practicefirearms lawgeneral practicepersonal injury and criminal law.

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Based in Indianapolis and founded in 1995, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. is a niche law firm focused on successfully dealing with the complexities of divorce, high-conflict child custody and family law. Known for their ability to solve extremely complex situations with high quality work and responsiveness, Ciyou & Dixon will guide you every step of the way. The family law attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. will help you precisely identify your objectives and the means to reach your desired result. In addition, this practice focus is augmented by the firm's other three core areas, namely appellate advocacy, civil practice, and firearms law. Life is uncertain. Be certain of your counselSM.

Indianapolis Divorce Attorneys, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. of Indianapolis, Indiana, offers legal services for Indianapolis, Zionsville, Noblesville, Carmel, Avon, Anderson, Danville, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Geist, Fortville, McCordsville, Muncie, Greenfield, Westfield, Fort Wayne, Fishers, Bloomington, Lafayette, Marion County, Hamilton County, Hendricks County, Allen County, Delaware County, Morgan County, Hendricks County, Boone County, Vigo County, Johnson County, Hancock County, and Tippecanoe County, Indiana.