Relocation of Parent

In the State of Washington the law requires that the primary parent give the non-primary parent notice if a relocation is contemplated. This prevents parents from unilaterally removing children from the school district or state where they reside. In the beginning of the divorce action there are automatic restraining orders against changing the residency of the children. This also applies for children of parents who chose not to get married. Once a parenting plan or residential schedule is filed with the court the parents should be aware of the provisions relating to relocation. The courts and judges are very strict in enforcing these provisions.

Factors the Court Considers

The law provides for several factors that are considered by the judge when a party wants to relocate. These factors triggers a change in the parenting plan provisions for visits and time with the other parent if the move is long distance. Sometimes a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed by the court to do an investigation relating to these factors and then report back with a recommendation. Questions relating to domestic violence may also be an issue.

Parents having a parenting plan or residential schedule should know that although there is a presumption in favor of a relocation, there may be other factors that overcome that presumption. What are the reasons for the move? How will the move affect the children? The focus is on the children more than the parents. Parents can always move; the question is will the relocation be with or without the children?

Chad Foster is a trusted Washington lawyer serving Snohomish and King counties with an office in Bothell. Contact us today to discuss your legal issue.

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