“Relocation” cases refer to a custodial parent’s request to move with a child. Washington’s Relocation Act has specific notice requirements that generally must be followed before any unilateral move. Additionally, the Act provides for a rebuttable presumption in favor of relocation, provided the relocating party is the parent of whom the children “reside a majority” of the time. Objecting parties are limited to specific statutory facts, which must show the move to be a “detriment” to the child that overcomes the benefits to the relocating party and the child. Mandatory forms are required to notify a party of a potential move and object to a requested action.
Relocation matters are often highly contested as there is no “middle ground” for settlement. Due to the statutory priority mandating the court hearing relocation matters quickly, necessary hearings and even trials are often set immediately.
Whether the relocation is granted or denied, it is often necessary to modify the current parenting plan in effect. In fact, objecting to the relocation is considered a modification petition to change the existing parenting plan.
Relocation actions, both for the moving party and the objecting party, are technical matters requiring adherence to specific forms, deadlines, and statutory factors.