Taking Parental Relocation Seriously
When one parent wants to relocate, it’s a pretty big deal, especially in the state of Washington. Strict laws exist on the parental relocation of a child. We represent both sides of this issue. We understand the legal and personal dynamics involved for both the parent who wants to move, and the parent objecting to a relocation.
Any parent with majority or substantially equal residential time (at least 45%) who wants to move with a child outside of their current school district must legally notify the other parent. The moving parent can either personally serve the formal notice or send any form of mail requiring return receipt. According to statutory requirements, this must be done at least 60 days before the intended move, though some emergency exceptions exist.
The nonrelocating parent must file and serve a formal objection to the move within 30 days of receiving the notice. If no objection is filed in this limited time frame, the move will be permitted, and the proposed revised residential schedule may be confirmed by the court. It is important that you contact an attorney immediately if you have been served with notice of a relocation and you want to object. You do not want to miss the objection deadline.
If a move stays in the same school district, the notice requirements for the relocating parent are much less strict. Though you must notify the other parent by any reasonable means.
Be advised: If one parent objects the proposed relocation, you’ll likely be headed to trial. Unfortunately, relocation cases are hard to settle in mediation. The relocating parent cannot typically move the child before a hearing. Washington’s parental relocation statute sets forth specific criteria that the court will use to determine whether a child will be allowed to move. However, that criterion is often confusing and open to interpretation. The judge will make the final call.
With such high stakes, come to DuBois Levias. Our expertise in this arena and experience in the courtroom can take you where you want to go.
Legalese Defined: Basis For Determination
In Washington state law, there is “a rebuttable presumption that the intended relocation of the child will be permitted.” This means the move will go ahead unless an objecting parent demonstrates how the detrimental effects of the change outweigh potential benefits. Eleven factors listed in the basis for determination statute guide the courts on how to make this ruling.