When couples in Washington end a relationship and there is a child involved, they may agree to continue to live in the same city or state. This helps to ensure that both parents get to spend time with their children. The problem arises when the parent with primary custody decides to move and take the child with them. If there was already tension related to custody of the child, this may only worsen the situation.
According to FindLaw, if there is no formal agreement in place and the noncustodial parent disagrees with the move, a dispute could ensue. When this happens, courts may need to decide whether or not moving supports the best interests of the child. Child relocation laws vary by state and may change over the years, but there are some factors almost all courts may take into consideration:
- Whether or not there is a good faith reason to move
- Distance of separation from the noncustodial parent
- Express consent and/or notice provided
The American Bar Association reminds parents that the minority time parent may still have equal rights when it comes to making decisions related to their child. Because of this, their actions may cause either a delay or complete halt in moving plans. This is especially the case if the court determines that the custodial parent attempted to move for the main or sole purpose of separating the child or children from the other parent.
Custodial parents who encourage continued interaction and make preparations for visitation may face less scrutiny. The ABA also found that when the moving parent was willing to help pay for traveling expenses, the minority parent tended to be more open to the new arrangement.