When one parent wants to move out of the area, shared parenting becomes difficult. Relocations can occur at the time of separation, during the dissolution proceedings or after the dissolution is finalized. When there is an existing parenting plan or custody order the parent seeking to relocate the child outside of the child’s school district must give sixty days’ notice to the other parent. If it is not possible to give sixty days’ notice, the relocating parent must give notice no less than five days after becoming aware of the move. The other parent may object to the relocation in Court within thirty days of receiving notice. The notice requirement does not apply in some situations involving domestic violence.
Under the Parental Relocation Act, there is a rebuttable presumption that the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time will be allowed to relocate. A parent objecting to the relocation of a child must show that the detriment to the child created by the move outweighs the benefit to the child and the moving parent. The statute sets forth at RCW 26.09.520 eleven factors which the Court will weight in evaluating a proposed relocation.
If the court approves the move, a new parenting plan may be entered if the best interest of the child demands it. If the court denies the relocation, the relocating parent may either choose to remain within the school district under the current parenting plan or continue with the move. If the parent continues with the move a new parenting plan will be entered with the non-moving parent as the primary residential parent.