Many parents in Kent and other parts of King County will at some point have to move.
Whether it is for a better job opportunity that promises greater economic stability for the family or because of important family reasons, like a sick relative, most parents do not want to be in a situation where they must choose either to move or to maintain their current parenting relationship with their kids.
Washington has a relocation statute
Like many other states, Washington requires parents who are subject to custody and parenting time orders to notify the other parent if they intend to move.
In many respects, the notice requirements are strict. When feasible, the parent has to give the other parent 60 days of advance notice and has to provide detailed information, including a new parenting time schedule if one is going to be necessary.
Unless their court orders say otherwise, a parent who wants to move within the borders of the same school district are not subject to this rule so long as the parent provides some adequate notice to anyone who has a legal right to see the child.
There are also special exceptions for parents facing difficult circumstances listed in the law. For example, victims of domestic violence may obtain a court order waiving some or all of the notice requirements.
A parent wanting to relocate may have to present his or her case
After receiving notice of a move, the other parent has the right to object to the move itself or to object to the moving parent’s proposed parenting plan. In many cases, the court must permit the move unless the other parent can demonstrate why it should do otherwise.
However, when both parents spend about half of the time with their children, the court will put the parents on equal footing and make a decision based on the best interests of the children. Both parents would likely have to present their cases in a child custody proceeding.
In any event, a parent planning to move should also be aware of his or her legal options.