There is usually a visitation order issued concurrent with the award of custody. One parent has physical (and possibly sole legal custody) and the other has the right to visit with the child. The visitation order lays out when (and sometimes where) the child can visit with the non-custodial parent (“NCP”), as well as any restrictions to the visitations such as a third party’s presence or supervision of visitations.
Unless otherwise expressly stated in the order, the court did not envision visits across the continent. Without the custodial parent’s express consent, the either or both parents have to go to court to seek a modification of the visitation order to allow out of state visits. It’s the custodial parent’s burden to seek permission of the court and to argue why relocation should be permitted. Until such time, it is the NCP’s right not to allow the out of state visits; but you should accommodate visitation locally to be in compliance with the order as intended. In the event the relocation is permitted, the NCP can travel to the child to exercise the visitation rights.
If you are served with a notice of a motion (to modify visitation), retain counsel to assist you prepare your rebuttal arguments.
If the NCP removes the child from the state without permission or court order—that becomes a whole different ballgame. Interstate removal of a child is a crime, even by a parent. There are federal Parental Kidnapping Laws the prescribe the treatment of a parent who engages in this type of conduct.
Assuming the NCP is paying child support, there may be a modification of the support obligation to off-set the travel expenses–if the matter ever comes to court. Otherwise, keep the status quo.