October 11, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Planning life with its difficult bumps and hurdles is hard enough, but planning life after divorce with children can be a challenge that can exist on another plane. Often parents come across career opportunities outside their immediate geography or out of state and want to act on the opportunity to better provide, or sometimes a parent may want a fresh start, achieved by moving somewhere new. If a divorced parent in Washington wants to move he or she may be subject to the state's relocation law. Different rules apply to custodial parents and noncustodial parents.
Applicability of relocation law
If a parent has legal custody of his or her child and the parent wishes to move or relocate and have the child move with him or her, Washington's relocation law applies. If a parent plans to move with the child and a child custody
plan exists that allows another parent or party visitation with the child, the parent that wishes to move must give the other parent advance notice of the move. Once notice is provided the other parent may object within a set time frame.
If no court order exists or if the court order does not provide another party with visitation rights, the relocation law does not apply. However, the parent may be subject to other laws, such as custodial interference laws and law concerning proper jurisdiction. Custodial interference laws criminalize taking or hiding a child from the other parent with the purpose of denying that parent access to the child for significant amount of time.
Relocation within the same school district
There are different rules for whether the parent wishes to move within the same school in which the child currently resides and whether the parent wishes to move outside of the district. If a parent wishes to move within the school district, the parent must provide actual notice to each person with visitation rights of the new address, a phone number and any new school or daycare provider. Actual notice means the parent must inform the parent in person, over the phone, by email or in written form. Another parent or party with visitation rights may generally not object to relocating within the same school district.
Relocation outside of the current school district
Similarly, if a custodial parent wishes to move with the child outside of the current school district, the parent must provide notice of intent to move to the noncustodial parent and to any other party with visitation rights. The parent must provide notice at least 60 days before the date of the intended move and can either be done by personal service or by mail with a return receipt. Certain exceptions to the 60-day notice requirement exist if the parent is moving because of military obligations or health or safety reasons.
If proper notice is not given, the parent may face sanctions from the court, such as penalties or contempt of court. The court may order the child to move back to the prior location or to the other parent's house, and the court may order payment of the other parent's attorney's fees. If the parent is found in contempt, the parent may face fines, jail time or other punishment.
After notice has been given, additional rules govern when a parent may move forward with the relocation and when and how the other party may object. To best understand what is required for a successful relocation, contact an experienced family law attorney.
Article provided by Law Offices of Susan Millican O'Brian & Associates, P.S.
Visit us at www.flatfeedivorceattorneywa.com