PLEASE NOTE: We are offering our clients the ability to meet with us via telephone, video-conferencing, and tele-conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.


What should I know about child relocation in Washington?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2023 | Child Custody & Parenting Time |

Sometimes, an opportunity arises that calls for an individual to relocate. Whether it is because of new work or a better cost of living, a move can be an exciting new step for a person. But things get complicated if there is a child involved.

Here are things a parent should know if they consider moving to another location with their child.

The moving parent’s responsibility

If the primary parent has to relocate with their child, Washington laws require them to notify the other parent and other parties who have residential or visitation time. The relocating parent must inform the others at least 60 days prior to the move. In case of emergency relocation, the notice requirement is only five days.

Can the other parent object?

While courts cannot prevent a parent’s relocation, Washington’s child relocation laws allow the nonmoving parent to file an objection within 30 days of the notification. They must prove why the court should not permit the move. Primarily, the objecting parent must show how the relocation can negatively affect the child’s well-being.

The court will consider certain factors to decide whether to allow the move, which includes the following:

  • The reason for the relocation
  • The condition of the proposed location
  • The child’s relationship with the opposing parent and other individuals with visitation schedules
  • Any initial agreement between the parents
  • The child’s needs, wishes and preference

The court acknowledges the importance of maintaining the child’s relationship with both parents. If an option is available to maintain this, the court will consider that.

Relocation poses an inevitable change, not only in the lives of the primary parent and child but also in the other parent’s visitation schedule. But no matter what each parent’s preference is, the court puts the child’s best interest as the top priority.