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Family Law: Relocating With Children

Posted Monday, December 14, 2015 by Pivotal Law Group

Alternative TextWhat happens if you and your spouse are divorced and one of you wants to move, taking your child along? This is a difficult situation for families, and it can be a very contentious proceeding.

The rules surrounding the relocation of a child come into play when the primary residential parent seeks to relocate the child outside of the child’s current school district. That means that these rules cover anything from moves of 5 miles to moves of 500 miles. These rules are spelled out in full in RCW 26.09.405-909.

As a summary, the relocating party must provide notice in writing (that meets some specific requirements) at least 60 days before the intended relocation. Once the notice is received, the non-primary parent then has 30 days to decide whether or not he/she will object to the relocation via a formal objection that is filed with the Court. If a parent objects, litigation commences that will ultimately decide whether the relocation should be permitted.

When the Court weighs the decision of whether or not to permit the relocation, it begins with a presumption that the relocation will be permitted. This is a large benefit to the relocating parent, and it is also a large hurdle to rebut for the objecting party. In seeking to determine whether or not the assumption has been rebutted, the Court considers 10 factors that are set out in RCW 26.09.520. These factors range from the strength of the relationship between the child and the parents, economic factors involved in the relocation, and the reasons for seeking relocation.

In the end, absent an agreement of the parties, the Court will make the decision about whether the child will be allowed to relocate with the relocating parent or not. If the relocation is allowed, the Court will craft a new parenting plan that takes into account the new distance between the parents. If the relocation is not permitted, the parent seeking relocation will have to decide whether or not to carry through with the relocation without the child.

Regardless of outcome, these are some of the most hotly contested family law matters because there is a fundamental impact on a parent’s relationship with their child. If you are thinking or relocating with your child or your former partner has indicated that he/she may be relocating with your child, contact Brian Edwards at Pivotal Law Group for more information, at (206) 805-1498 or by email at B.Edwards@PivotalLawGroup.com

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