I am not an expert and may be telling you something foolishly wrong…hopefully not. Try to avoid court. Even if you are really sure that you can “win”, I suggest trying to do so in mediation. It’s in your best interest to make sure you are being treated fairly but if she can gain anything (that you can give up), it will probably happen in mediation not court, where both sides lose. If this is possible and somewhat successful, you lower the risk that she will fire back with future court dates and you both stand to save a bundle of cash. Think about it, if she or you are really pissed w/ the outcome in court, the dissatisfaction often leads to another go around…more pain, frustration, money…
Research past judgments in the county that she moved from (and to). Look for civil case (appeals) on the subject of relocation. My guess is that a three hour change is enough that you can petition a change in custody (again, I am guessing here…). In her moving the majority YOUR CHILDREN’s parenting agreement/custody order has been damaged without your consent, or that of a judge…look for some case history. Even if it’s an appeals case from a different county.
If you move, then your plans sound helpful. They only possible way that you could be “hurt” is if you really can’t afford the move and the lifestyle of living in the new community. That could make you less financially stable (let’s assume that this is not a real issue though…). The above applies here too if she plans to truly move far away. I am wondering what exclusions exist that would allow her to remain primary but move far away /w kids…maybe a health issue or special needs that can only be met elsewhere.