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Key points of the Washington relocation law

You want to provide the best possible life for your children. What do you do when that requires you to move your child away from your ex-spouse? You may have a custody dispute on your hands.

Should you have to defend your decision to move, the state of Washington’s relocation law governs the proceedings. There are a few key points of the Washington relocation law you should be aware of.

Notification and presumption

Washington law 26.09.440 fully details how a parent must notify other parties of relocation plans. In summary, the relocating parent must inform the other parent of plans to move at least 60 days prior the set move date. The parent must also present a presumption, or reason for moving. If the party does not meet these requirements, the court may find the moving parent in contempt. However, in certain cases, the court may waive the notification process, such as if the fleeing parent is in a domestic violence situation.


A contesting parent may choose to file an objection to the move. The person must file an objection at least 30 days prior to the set move date. However, this objection is not seen as valid if the parent is moving within the same school district.

Factors and nonfactors

According to Washington, it is the court’s duty to determine custody in the interest of the child. Therefore, the court considers a wide variety of factors that affect the child and help to determine if the move would be more helpful or harmful to the child. However, the court does not look at whether the relocating parent would stay or the objecting parent would be willing to move depending on the verdict.

Temporary orders

The court may provide a temporary order approving the move before the case reaches a full settlement. On the other hand, the opposing party may also file a temporary order to restrain the move.

As you can see, relocation is a very serious matter, especially when it involves children. If you are considering moving with your child, make sure you understand the requirements and regulations.


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