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Can I relocate out of state with my child?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2021 | Firm News

The opportunity to begin almost anew has surfaced. A remarriage is on the horizon, your child likes your new partner with plans in place to unite two different families. Happiness is a good thing to embrace. However, with the remarriage comes a planned move out of state. Complications are bound to arise regarding custody and visitation matters with your former spouse – your child’s other parent.

Joint decision making agreements often are complicated. And the move or relocation of one parent out of state promises to complicate things even further. Can you move out of state with your child? Sometimes you can, but you must do so tactfully and legally, while taking the necessary steps to make this happen.

Let the other parent know, expect pushback

Under Washington state law, the parent who plans to move must notify the other parent – who has visitation rights or an equal time agreement in place — of his or her intentions. You have the obligation to provide such notice, and, at the same time, let the court know how the move benefits you and your child while also working out a revised visitation agreement with the other parent. Make sure that all of this planning remains in good faith.

But, on the other hand, understand that, in some cases, courts may recognize that such a move may be detrimental to the child and may not allow it. A judge may wonder out loud whether the child can smoothly adjust to the move, recognizing the potential hindrances. How much will this disrupt the child’s life moving away from the neighborhood, school district and saying “goodbye” to friends and relatives in that city. In some cases, some non-relocating parents then gain primary custody and the visitation schedule to permit the moving parent reasonable visitation.

This change for you, though, has been in the works and should come as little surprise to your former spouse. Do the necessary research, understand the law and a workable arrangement is possible.