At Genesis, our Everett-based divorce and family law attorneys regularly counsels and/or represents clients regarding parental relocations, a common legal matter for estranged parents. Primary residential parents must follow a relocation procedure before moving any significant distance. This in turn gives the other parent an opportunity to object to the relocation, sometimes resulting in a hotly contested custody battle when the parents cannot resolve the matter by agreement. Should push come to shove, our clients benefit from our attorneys’ outstanding legal credentials and low hourly charges relative to our competitors in the Everett area. We encourage you to read our website to learn more about us and our unique practice model.
Frequently asked Questions:
Do I have to notify the opposing party of my relocation if I am not the primary care parent? Generally no, you are not required to give notice of your relocation unless you are the primary care parent or custodian. Of note, you should read your parenting plan to see whether it contains language changing this general rule. Oftentimes section VI of a parenting plan contains “other provisions”, and those provisions sometimes include a requirement that each parent notify the other of any address changes.
Section 3.14 of my parenting plan contains language about relocations. Does that section of my parenting plan change how the relocation laws apply in my case? No, this section of your parenting plan is probably nothing more than a summary of Washington’s relocation laws. The section 3.14 summary is a mandatory part of parenting plans in Washington.
I am the primary residential parent. Do I have to notify the opposing party of my relocation if I only move a short distance? This is a gray area. Many Snohomish County judges and commissioners would say yes, you are required to notify the opposing party even if you merely relocate across the street. As a practical matter, however, many attorneys and parties do not bother with formal (or even informal) notice so long as the relocation is within the same school district.
What happens if I receive a relocation notice but do not object within the allotted thirty-day response period? Failing to object within the allotted time-frame usually means the opposing party effectively gains the right to relocate with your child. If you intend to object, you should do so right away.
Can I really lose primary care by relocating? Yes, a court can deny the primary care parent’s relocation request. If the primary care parent nonetheless moves, he or she essentially relinquishes custody. By law, courts err on the side of granting relocation requests.