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Child Relocation

Mom and Son If you have questions about relocating your children in a divorce situation, we invite you to call our offices. One of our Washington child relocation lawyers can review your case in detail and then explain how we can help.

WA State Laws Regarding Relocating Children

The laws for relocating children in WA State are complicated, and every case is very fact specific. There are many dynamics involved in every proposed or requested relocating action. A good family law attorney can properly evaluate your case and then put together a strategy that you gives you the best chance to prevail at trial. Our Washington child relocation lawyers are experienced at handling difficult matters such as these.

In general, relocating children under WA law is governed by RCW 26.09.405 to RCW 26.09.550. The parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time has a rebuttable presumption that they will be allowed to relocate provided that the statutory notice requirements are properly observed.

The court cannot prevent the parent from relocating. What the court then considers is whether or not they will allow the children to relocate with the parent. The court's consideration is based on the specific circumstances of your situation and requires a multi-pronged analysis.

WA State's Relocation Notice Requirements

A parent wishing to relocate must provide proper notice to the non-residential parent and all other persons who are entitled to residential time with the child set up through a residential schedule. This notice is anywhere from 60 days prior to relocating to no less than 5 days following the relocation depending upon the circumstances.

Generally, if a parent wishes to relocate the child out of their current school district the court will require at least 60 days prior notice to the other parent. The non-relocating parent then has the option of objecting to the relocation of the child. Failing to give proper notice may result in sanctions by the court.

Our Washington and Washington child relocation attorneys are experienced in helping with the relocation notice of the residential parent who wishes to relocate. We are also experienced in assisting clients in objecting to a possible relocation of their child.

How do I Fight my to Keep my Children Here Under the WA Child Relocation act?

When a parent objects to a relocation of their children, the court will consider several factors in determining whether or not it will be permitted. These factors include the strength and stability of the relationship of the children with the non-relocating parent and other significant persons in the children's lives who will be left behind.

Also considered are prior agreements of the parties; whether disrupting contact between the children and the non-relocating parent would be more detrimental than disrupting contact between the children and the parent with whom they reside a majority of time; the reasons for relocating; the developmental stage and needs of the children; the quality of life of the children and the relocating parent in the current and proposed locations; and the financial impact of the relocation or its prevention on the children and the relocating parent.

The court will also look at the availability of the alternative arrangements to foster and continue the relationship with and access to the non-relocating parent. These factors are not considered in any particular order and none are considered more important than any of the others. The court will not consider whether the person seeking to relocate the children will decide not to do so if they are not allowed to relocate with them. While considering the factors detailed above, the court must put the best interests of the children above everything else.

Speak With one of our WA State Child Relocation Attorneys if you Need to Leave Right Away

A parent, in special circumstances, may also ask the court to allow relocating pending the outcome of the trial. Our Washington relocation lawyers can help you determine if a Motion for Temporary Orders allowing relocation pending trial is appropriate in your particular situation.

Special consideration is given to parents who have “50/50” residential schedules. Many courts will apply standards applicable to modifications of a parenting plan or residential schedule instead of the factors considered in the statute pertaining to relocating. This does away with the presumption that the relocating party will be allowed to do so with the child.

Regardless of your situation, it is important that proper notice is given, and that court rules and statutes are followed carefully. Our family law team is experienced in navigating the courts in order to provide our clients with the best possible outcome for them and as well as their children.

I've Just Been Served With Paperwork. Where do I go From Here?

Speak to our Washington child relocation lawyers as soon as possible. If you recently been served with paperwork and have questions about your WA State relocation matter, we encourage you to call our offices immediately. The clock is ticking.

One of our experienced Washington child relocation attorneys can go over your matter in detail and then explain how we would would approach your case.

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