Clement Law Center - Federal Way Family Law Attorney
Free Initial Consultation
Our office is open. At Clement Law Center, the safety and wellbeing of our clients and employees come first. In response to COVID-19, court hearings and all conferences with client and prospective clients will be by phone. We are not conducting in-person court hearings or meetings. Our staff will often be working remotely during this time. Our office will be checking voicemail and will return client calls as soon as possible. We continue to offer free phone consultations.
We offer a 25% discount to First Responders and Health Care Workers
Quality Representation & Individualized Advocacy You Can Depend On

Relocation of a parent and child

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2016 | Relocation

Co-parenting after a divorce presents many challenges even when both parents live in the same area. However, if the custodial parent decides to move to a new city or state with the child, many difficult issues arise. The non-custodial parent will be unable to see the child as frequently as before. Travel is an added expense for both parties. The child is subjected to a major change that has the potential to greatly disrupt his or her life. For these reasons, many non-custodial parents file court proceedings to bar relocation if at all possible. The custodial parent sometimes has no choice but to move – for example, due to a job change or military orders. Having an excellent attorney often means the difference between a court order barring or allowing relocation.

Child Relocation Act

Governing law is the Child Relocation Act in RCW 26.09.520, which directs the court to permit relocation unless there is a weighty objection that can overcome this presumption. Essentially, this means that your former partner does not have to convince the court to let her relocate your child. Instead, it is your duty to prove the relocation should be prohibited. In considering your objection, the court will look at more than just the best interests of your child.

Case law precedent

Case law in re Marriage of Horner, 151 Wn.2d 884, 93 P.3d 124 (2004) strengthened this presumption. In this case, custodial parent mom notified dad that she was moving from Vancouver to Edmonds to take care of her sick parents. Dad objected, and the trial courts agreed with him, legally blocking the move. Mom’s attorney appealed, and the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision. The S.C. approved Mom’s move stating that governing law takes both mom and child into account when determining whether the relocation is acceptable. In applying the law, the court must determine whether a parent’s objection to relocation outweighs the benefit that the move will provide to both the child and the parent who is relocating. This decision gave significant weight to the interests and circumstances of the parent who has decided to relocate.

Objecting to relocation

If your child’s other parent wants to move away with your child, she must notify you of the intended move. If your child resides with this parent at least 51 percent of the time, the presumption of the court will likely be to allow the move. Therefore, you need to file an objection showing that the relocation will cause more harm than good to your child. The court will look at the reason for the move and whether the benefits to both your former partner and your child are outweighed by the detriments. They will review such factors as the strength of your relationship and how this move will impact it, previously established arrangements and how the move will affect your child’s quality of life and opportunities.

An experienced Washington child custody lawyer can help you present evidence to the court to try to overcome the court’s presumption to allow the relocation.


Start Your Free Consultation

Our Office Locations

Federal Way Office
31919 1st Avenue South, Suite 103
Federal Way, WA 98003

Toll Free:888-351-6779
Phone: 253-954-3351
Fax: 253-815-8458
Federal Way Office Location

Seattle Office
3418 NE 65th St., Suite A
Seattle, WA 98115

Toll Free: 888-351-6779
Phone: 253-954-3351
Fax: 253-815-8458
Seattle Office Location

Bellevue Office
14777 NE 40th Street, Suite 206
Bellevue, WA 98007

Toll Free: 888-351-6779
Phone: 253-954-3351
Fax: 253-815-8458
Bellevue Office Location
FindLaw Network