Divorce & Relocation
Parents desire to relocate for a number of reasons. Reasons the court seem to favor are employment, sometimes remarriage, and relocating closer to a support network. Relocation matters often end up in trial, because there is little way to "split the baby." Mediation is usually unsuccessful unless the other parent can be convinced by an evaluation or Guardian ad Litem report that the move is in the child's best interest. Relocation is an all or nothing situation. The court cannot stop an adult from moving but can stop a child from being moved.
The parent with whom the children live the majority of the time, or primary parent, must abide by the Relocation Act when wanting to move with the children to a different residence. If the new address is within the children's current school district, the primary parent must provide notice to the other parent by any reasonable means. The other parent may not object, but may seek to modify the Parenting Plan.
If the intended move is outside the children's current school district, the parent intending to relocate the child must fulfill certain notice requirements. They must serve the other parent with formal notice at least 60 days before intending to move. If the relocating parent could not have known about the move in time to provide 60 days' notice, once they are aware, he or she must give notice within five days. The other parent then has the opportunity to object and must file and serve an Objection to Relocation. If no objection is filed within 30 days after service of the Notice of Intent Relocation, it will be permitted and the relocating parent's Proposed Parenting Plan is entered by the Court.
How We Can Help
Whether you are considering a new home, or have been served with a Notice of Intent to Relocate, the attorneys at Elise Buie Family Law Group are prepared to represent you. Relocation is an area in which Elise is involved both professionally and personally. In order to be successful, both parties have to work persistently to ensure that the parent-child relationships are developed. This might mean providing your house or car to the other parent in order to make travel more affordable.
This is where an attorney with creativity and problem solving skills can assist you in crafting a solution to even the toughest cases. The rules under the law might not be enough to provide what is best for your children. Your children's best interest is paramount in any decision to relocate.
Relocation Factors Considered by the Court
- The relative strength, nature, quality, extent of involvement, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in their life;
- Prior agreements of the parties;
- If disrupting the contact between the child and the primary parent would be more harmful than disrupting contact between the child and the person objecting to the relocation;
- If either parent or a person entitled to residential time with the child is subject to limitations under RCW 26.09.191;
- The reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation and the good faith of each person in doing so;
- The age, developmental stage, and needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on his or her physical, educational, and emotional development;
- The quality of life, resources, and opportunities available to the child in the current and proposed geographic locations;
- The availability of alternative arrangements to foster and continue the child's relationship with and access to the other parent;
- The alternatives to relocation and whether it is feasible and desirable for the other party to also relocate;
- The financial impact and logistics of the relocation or its prevention;
- For a temporary order, the amount of time before a final decision can be made at trial.
Your Family's Future is our First Priority