Can a divorced parent simply move away with the kids?

On Behalf of | May 21, 2022 | child custody | 0 comments

Many divorced couples in Washington will often still have several years (even decades) of life ahead of them. These years will inevitably bring with them new opportunities, one of which may be the chance for one of them to relocate to a new area. Moving after a divorce becomes more complicated, however, if there are children involved.

The parent having primary custody of the kids may believe it to be their prerogative to determine their principal residence (absolving them of the need to consult with their ex-spouse ahead of a potential move). Yet is this truly the case?

Reviewing Washington’s child relocation laws

According to the Revised Code of Washington, it is not. Indeed, the law states that a parent wanting to relocate with the kids must provide all parties with an interest in their custody agreement with notice of their intention at least 60 days prior to the proposed move. Such a notice must include the following:

  • When they plan to move
  • The addresses and phone numbers of the children’s new residence and schools (if known)
  • A revised parenting plan that accommodates the non-relocating parent’s visitation rights

In cases where a relocating parent learns of a move without having 60 days to provide notice, they must send notification within five days of learning of it.

Collaborating with an ex-spouse on a move

The law allows for a non-relocating parent to oppose a relocating parent’s move (which could prompt the court to drastically alter the couple’s custody arrangement). Thus, parents wanting to move while still maintaining control of their custody agreement may want to work with their ex-spouse to come up with an amenable arrangement on their own.

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