A divorce case in Washington brings with it a feeling of finality, yet in reality, life inevitably goes on. Part of that may include the opportunity for one to relocate to another area (either within the Yakima community or out of state). Doing so, however, becomes complicated when they consider their custody agreement.
Many in that very position might question whether the law allows them to relocate with their kids following their divorce. Knowing the answer to this question is vital to a divorced parent being able to successfully answer should their ex-spouse contest the move.
Legal requirements regarding parental relocation
As one might already assume, the law does not allow them to simply move away with the kids. Per Section 26.09.440 of the Revised Code of Washington, they must first provide anyone with an interest in their custody agreement (including their ex-spouse and the court having jurisdiction over their case) with notice of their intention to move at least 60 days prior to the proposed relocation. In the event that circumstances require one to move quickly (not allowing for 60 days’ notice), they may remain compliant with the law if they prove that they provided notice within five days of learning of the need to move.
How to maintain control of the process
Of course, providing notice does not guarantee that one’s ex-spouse will not petition the court to completely change their custody agreement in a way prejudicial to them. Rather than leaving the fate of their agreement to the court, however, one can work with their ex-spouse independently to come up with a modified agreement that proves amenable to both parties. Should they do so, the court will likely reward such collaboration and adopt their amended custody agreement.