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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.
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:
To help protect your existing rights, our legal team can assist you with the following issues when it comes to relocation:
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:
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.
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.
Navigating custody laws between states and understanding how they will apply to your case can be extremely complex. Having a Spokane family law 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.
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.