Proudly Advising Washington Families About Their Legal Rights
When one or both of the separate parents of a minor child decide to relocate their primary residence, the legal implications can be complicated to navigate. This is especially true if there are sophisticated court orders regarding parenting plans and visitation arrangements. To make sure relocation does not negatively impact your parental rights, you should consult an experienced relocation attorney in Spokane. To learn more about your legal rights and how to protect them for purposes of relocating, call Twyford Law Office at (509) 327-0777 today.
Why Choose Twyford Law Office
Our legal team has more than three decades of legal experience advocating for the rights of Spokane residents regarding legal issues arising out of the decision to relocate.
We tailor our legal strategies to meet every client’s unique goals.
Our clients are our top priority and can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How Relocation Impacts Your Rights
Under Washington law, divorced parents of a minor child are typically subject to court orders regarding the custody of a minor child, parenting plans, and visitation arrangements. When determining such issues, a Washington court must have evaluated factors affecting the minor child’s best interests, and crafted a custody or visitation arrangement as a result. Relocation can result in a material change of circumstances that could justify modifying the terms of an existing custody or visitation arrangement.
A parent has the right to object to the other parent’s plan to relocate. To successfully object to a parental relocation, a party must prove that the detrimental consequences of moving outweigh the benefits.
A legal analysis regarding parental relocations involves an assessment of the following factors:
The impact on family relations
Good faith reasons and objections
The age and developmental needs of the children
Questions regarding the quality of life
Alternatives to relocation
The financial impact of relocating
To help protect your existing rights, our legal team can assist you with the following issues when it comes to relocation:
Complying with notice requirements for relocating
Modifying family support orders
Modifying custody and visitation orders
Developing and negotiating new custody or parenting plans
Before relocating, a parent of minor children who is divorced or separated and subjected to a child custody order may need to consider the following:
The Children’s Needs – The needs of the children should be considered first. The decision to relocate should be done only when it is in the best interest of the child.
Motive – A court will typically not rule in favor of a parent who is moving in order to interfere with the custody or visitation rights of the other parent.
The Child Custody Order – The child custody order may address parent relocation. When it doesn’t, the parent needs to figure out if the move would significantly impact the current parenting schedule or make it impossible. When the parent requesting a relocation is the primary caregiver, a plan for visitation with the other mother or father will need to be devised, for example visiting on school breaks.
Prepare for Court Hearings – A family law attorney should be consulted prior to any court hearings, so that the parent may better understand their rights as well as the chance of being granted permission to relocate.
Sufficient Notice – Washington state law requires a parent to give notice at least 60 days in advance of the proposed move, to the court and anyone entitled to visitation rights or residential time with the child. The notice must contain information such as the proposed new address, as well as the reasons for the relocation.
Moving only a short distance away and staying within the child’s current school district will likely not pose a problem. Issues tend to arise when a parent’s intended relocation will notably impact a custody agreement already in place.
Options For Parents Against Relocation
Once the noncustodial parent has received notice of the intended relocation, they will have 30 days to object. If they fail to object within that time period, Washington courts will typically allow the child relocation. In addition to the objection, either a petition for modification of the parenting plan or other paperwork, such as a motion for a temporary order, should be filed so that the parent’s position can be heard by the court before a decision is made. Getting a formal court action on the court’s calendar is of extreme importance, so that a hearing will be scheduled with a judge. The burden falls on the noncustodial parent to prove that the negative effects outweigh the benefits of a relocation. Following the hearing, the judge will issue a written order based on Washington law. When deciding, the judge is not allowed to consider whether the noncustodial parent will have to relocate as well.
Why You Need A Relocation Attorney
Navigating custody laws between states and understanding how they will apply to your case can be extremely complex. Having a Spokane attorney assist you with your relocation needs will not only give you the legal knowledge on your rights, but can result in a resolution that is mutually beneficial for both you, your children, and your ex-spouse. When a modification to a prior custody agreement is also required, a relocation attorney can also handle that matter on your behalf.
Call a Spokane Relocation Lawyer for Legal Advice
Either parent’s decision to relocate to another city or state can have significant repercussions regarding their obligations under a divorce decree or child custody and support order. To make sure you have enough information about the legal implications of relocating, our attorneys at Twyford Law Office are committed to guiding you through the legal process so you can reach an informed decision. Schedule your free consultation about your case by calling our firm at (509) 327-0777 today.