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What Divorcing and Relocating Parents in Washington Need to Know

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2015 | Divorce |

For many working professionals who moved to Washington for a lucrative job and are now getting a divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to seek a relocation. Since they no longer have strings attached to the area, he or she may feel compelled to move back home (oftentimes out-of-state) with the children. This is not something that can be done without permission from a family court judge. If not done right from the beginning, the entire custody agreement could be considered invalid.

Under Washington State’s Relocation Act (RCW 26.09.430 through 26.09.480), notice must be given if one party in a divorce is seeking to relocate. Whether this is simply to a different school district, to another state or even out of the country, this body of law provides specific procedural guidelines. Spouses who are considering a relocation should also consider the help of a knowledgeable and experienced child custody attorney.

Harsh Consequences and Having to Start Over

If not petitioned and handled correctly through the courts, a child that already moved could be ordered to move back until the issue is resolved. Even harsher are potential fines and other sanctions for failure of giving proper notice. A judge could find the offending spouse in contempt of court.

So, how does one properly begin the petition for relocation? For starters, the custodial parent must give the noncustodial parent proper notice. If the noncustodial parent does not object within thirty days, then the relocation will be allowed. Keep in mind, this is a very general description of the procedures involved in a relocation request. It is very important that a parent who is thinking about moving away discuss this with a qualified and seasoned family law attorney.

With over two decades of private family law practice experience, Bruce Clement of Clement Law Center has the skills and knowledge to handle your complex child custody issues in a thorough and appropriate manner. Reach out to his law firm today for more information.