A new job, a new relationship or just a new life – you’ve decided to move. Your only concern is how to relocate with your child that you have legal custody of. There are several issues to take into account so let’s begin.
When there is an existing court order, like a parenting plan: If you want to relocate with your child but an existing court order gives another parent (or grandparent, relative, or other third party) visitation rights then you must notify that party of your intention to move. That party then has 30 days to file an objection with the court.
When there is no court order or the order does not give anyone else visitation rights: Yes you can move but you need to be cognizant of custodial interference and jurisdiction laws.
• Custodial Interference Laws: It is a crime to take or hide a child from another parent with the intent to deny that parent access to the child for an extended period of time, even when there are no parenting plans in place. It is a more serious crime if the child is moved from the state where he or she resides. Advise the other parent of where you are going, and how to contact you to keep in touch with the child.
• Jurisdiction Laws: The UCCJEA is the law that dictates which court has jurisdiction to make custody and visitation decisions about your child. Essentially it says that if a parent moves a child out of state, the old state continues to be the child’s “home state” for six months after the move, provided that one parent still lives there. Any court action within the first six months after relocation will probably need to take place in the old state. If you have no custody or visitation order, yet the other parent stays in Washington and files a court case, be ready to respond and return to Washington.
Relocating within the same school district: Simply provide all parties with visitation rights your new address, phone number, and contact information for the new daycare or school.
Relocating outside the school district: If you are the primary residential parent, you must give all parties with visitation rights 60 days’ notice of your intended move date or you must give notice within five days of you finding out you are moving.
Exceptions to the 60 days’ notice: If you have to move with your child sooner than 60 days’ notice allows, you can give 5 days’ notice. Be prepared to demonstrate that 1) you could not have known about the relocation in time to give 60 days’ notice; and 2) you cannot delay the relocation.
You must give notice to the other parent by Personal service (someone else over the age of eighteen must hand it to the other parent) or any form of mail requiring a return receipt. Along with the notice, you should give a proposed modified parenting plan.
Relocation with a child is complicated so don’t hesitate to contact the team of family law attorneys at Pacific Northwest Family Law. Our experienced team of attorneys can advise you on any legal issue surrounding marriage, divorce, custody, alimony, adoption or other family law questions you may have. Call the Pacific Northwest Family Law at 509-572-3700.