Child Relocation

It is fairly common for a parent to consider moving away with their child, especially after ending a long-term relationship like a marriage. Common reasons for child relocation can include pursuing a new employment, living closer to relatives, or moving to an affordable area. But if a divorced parent desires to relocate with the child, however, they must adhere to Washington laws concerning child relocation.

Relocating a child, alone, without properly notifying the other parent can result in severe consequences, such as losing child custody. These are all dilemmas you can avoid, however, if you follow the advice of a knowledgeable Seattle family law attorney. If you have questions or concerns regarding child relocation in Washington, contact Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson. Our Seattle family law attorneys have ample experience representing parents who wish to relocate with their children.

Seattle Child Relocation Attorney | King County & Snohomish County WA

If you have questions about child relocation, we advise you to contact Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson. Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson has proudly served families throughout the State of Washington area for over two decades. Our King County and Snohomish County family law attorneys can evaluate your case and form a strong strategy that gives you the best chance to prevail in court.

We have extensive experience handling difficult matters such as child relocation, child support, and visitation rights after a divorce occurs. Don’t delay in contacting Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson today at (206) 712-2756 to schedule your first confidential consultation.

Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson accepts child relocation cases throughout the State of Washington including Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Mercer Island, Kenmore, Issaquah, Woodinville, Renton, Tukwila, White Center, and SeaTac.


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Washington State Child Relocation Laws

Washington law has a specific set of statutes that govern issues related to child relocation. These set of rules are found at RCW 26.09.405-560, which constitutes the Relocation Act. 

For various reasons, a parent may decide to move to a different state and relocate their children. The desired change may occur because the guardian obtained a new job, received a promotion, or filed a divorce. If the primary parent intends to move and relocate the children out of their current school district, then they must provide the other parent with a 60-day notice. If for an unforeseen reason, the primary parent is unable to give 60-day notice for the move, they must notify the other parent within five days of learning of the intended move.

In the State of Washington, once the primary parent has notified the other parent, they have 30 days to file a formal objection with the court. If they do file a timely objection, the primary residential parent may not relocate the children until trial takes place. 

 These rules apply not just to parents with a majority of the time, but also those with substantially equal time as the other parent.


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Child Relocation Trial in Washington 

RCW 26.09.520 sets forth specific criteria for the court to determine whether a child will be allowed to relocate. Per the statute, the nonmoving parent is entitled to object the intended relocation of the child and may do so by demonstrating that the detrimental effect of the relocation outweighs the benefit of the change to the child. 

The court will consider the following factors: 

  • The relative strength, nature, quality, extent of involvement, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child's life
  • Prior agreements of the parties
  • The quality of life, resources, and opportunities available to the child and to the relocating party in the current and proposed geographic locations
  • Whether disrupting the contact between the child and the person with whom the child resides a majority of the time would be more detrimental to the child than disrupting contact between the child and the person objecting to the relocation
  • The reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation and the good faith of each of the parties in requesting or opposing the relocation
  • The availability of alternative arrangements to foster and continue the child's relationship with and access to the other parent
  • The financial impact and logistics of the relocation or its prevention
  • The age, developmental stage, and needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation or its prevention will have on the child's physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child
  • The alternatives to relocation and whether it is feasible and desirable for the other party to relocate also
  • Whether either parent or a person entitled to residential time with the child is subject to limitations under RCW 26.09.191
  • For a temporary order, the amount of time before a final decision can be made at trial. 

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Additional Resources

Washington State Legislature: Child Relocation Determination –  Access the official website for the Washington State Legislature to see a list of factors the court weighs when addressing child relocation. 

Washington Courts: Notice of Intent to Move With Children –  Follow the link provided to access the official website for the Washington Courts and view a list of court forms regarding child relocation. You can see PDFs for parenting plans, a notice of intent to move with children, and domestic cases.


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Child Relocation Seattle Lawyer, WA 

If you wish to relocate your child or have been given notice by your ex of a possible relocation, you may have several questions. Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson has served families throughout Washington since 2000 and is experienced in parental relocation issues. Their legal team can review your case in detail and help you navigate this stressful situation.

Washington has complex laws for relocating children so it’s best to acquire skilled legal counsel as soon as possible. Call (206) 712-2756 to secure a consultation and have Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson fight for the best outcome possible for your case. Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson has offices in Washington, but serves clients all throughout King County, Snohomish County, Pierce County, Chelan County, Kittitas County, and Kitsap County.


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