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Washington law for relocation and child custody

Child custody can be a complicated and difficult issue for couples in Washington State. Even after the situation has seemingly been resolved, there is often a disagreement that comes to the forefront if the custodial parent is planning a relocation. Washington law deals with this from the point-of-view of the Relocation Act. Parents who are facing this possibility must understand how the law works, what a relocation will entail, how it encompasses the relationship with children and visitation rights.

According to the law, the custodial parent has the right to move residence. A parent who would like to move with his or her children is required to provide notification to the other parent. Considerations include the time when the parent plans to move, the circumstances surrounding the move and other factors. A parent is allowed to object to the move, if it means that the child's school district is set to change. The court will determine how the parenting plan will need to be altered.

A parent who would like to lodge an objection to the relocation must do within 30 days of the date of the notification. This will be a request that the parenting plan be modified. The court will subsequently determine whether or not to allow the move. A parent cannot simply request that the courts not allow the move. Some parents do not object to the relocation and they agree on a new schedule of visitation. The agreement will be submitted to the court.

Certain cases involve a history of violence in the relationship or the threat of violence. This is viewed differently under the Relocation Act. The children's safety is paramount. If there is an objection by the other parent, the court will make a decision whether or not to allow the move or if it can be allowed permanently if it has already happened. Parents who do not adhere to the Relocation Law can face consequences. The children might be ordered to be returned. Missing the deadline for filing an objection can mean they don't have the right to object. Having experienced legal help when dealing with relocation is imperative regardless of the circumstances and what side a parent is on.

Source: Courts.WA.gov, "Chapter 9 Relocation of Children, page 18-19," accessed on Aug. 10, 2015

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