Legal Requirements for Washington Parents Who Relocate with Children
If you are a parent in Washington State with custody of a child and wish to relocate with that child, you must give notice to anyone else — usually the other parent — who has joint custody, equal parenting time or visitation rights under an existing court order. The legal requirements for giving notice are spelled out in Washington’s revised Child Relocation Act.
If you plan to move out of your child’s current school district, you must give the other parent a 60-day notice of your intent to move. The notice must be given by personal service or by any mail service with a return receipt and must contain the following information:
- The address where the person sending the notice can receive service of process during the objection period
- Specific reasons for the relocation with the child
- Notice to the nonrelocating person(s) that an objection to the intended relocation of the child or to the relocating person’s proposed revised residential schedule must be filed with the court and served on the opposing person within 30 days or the relocation of the child will be permitted
- The new street address
- The new telephone number
- The name and address of the child’s new school and/or day-care facility
- A proposed parenting plan for a revised schedule of residential time or visitation with the child, if any
If you do not know your new address 60 days before relocation, the city and state will suffice, but you must let the other parent know the new address as soon as it becomes available. If you do not know that you must move less than 60 days prior to relocation, you must serve notice on the other parent within five days of the date you become aware of your need to move.
The other parent can object to the relocation and to the proposed parenting plan within 30 days of service. If there is an objection, there will be a hearing and the judge will decide if relocation with the child will be permitted. Parents who are moving within the same school district must give notice, but the other parent cannot object.
While there are very specific requirements for giving or objecting to notices, the requirements may be modified for parents who are victims of domestic violence or who are moving to avoid a clear, immediate and unreasonable risk to the health or safety of themselves or their child. If you are planning to relocate with your child or you wish to oppose such a move, it is a good idea to find an experienced child custody attorney to assist you.
At Bottimore & Associates, P.L.L.C. in Tacoma, we know that circumstances can change over time, and we are committed to assisting our clients with relocation and other custody modification orders. Call us at 253-272-5653 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.