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Can I prevent my ex-spouse from taking the kids out of state?

by | Aug 10, 2021 | Family Law |

When spouses get a divorce, practically every aspect of their lives change. Your ex-spouse may have decided to move to a different state for employment opportunities, to be close to family, or because of remarriage. If they have sole custody of your children, this can cause a lot of conflict and tension between the two of you, since a relocation means a significant limitation on your ability to visit your children. Is there any legal process you can use to prevent them from moving?

Notice requirement

Washington law establishes the process whereby a parent with sole custody of children can move. Before your ex-spouse moves, they must provide you with notice of their intent to move at least 60 days before they intend to leave. This gives you time to prepare your challenge to the move.

The notice must include your ex-spouse’s proposed revision of your parenting plan. If you don’t like their revised plan, you have the right to bring a challenge to the relocation in the same family court that handed down your original divorce decree.

Your right to challenge the relocation

The court will presume that they should grant permission for the relocation. This means that it’s your attorney’s responsibility as the challenger to provide enough evidence to convince the court that they should not permit the move.

Your challenge can include various factors to try to prove that justice demands that the court forbid the move. For example, you can ask that they consider the detrimental impact on your child’s life if they are taken farther away from you, the comparative quality of life they could have if they stayed, the impracticability of your ex-spouse’s proposed amendments to the parenting plan and things of that nature.

The thought of your children living farther away can be very upsetting. Luckily, you have the opportunity to go through the proper legal process to challenge the move, and attempt to get the court to forbid your ex-spouse from relocating with them.