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Can non-custodial parent file for custody when the custodial parent moved out of state without notifying Washington State court?

Tacoma, WA |

My fiance, a combat vet's ex-wife moved out of Washington state without notifying the court. The parenting plan/ divorce was done in Pierce County, Washington. She has made it difficult for him to talk with his kids, stating that as the custodial parent she makes all the descisions. She moved in with her sister in colorado. She left the state in June 2010. He has seen them once since then, in colorado for 5 hours. He was there for a week.The parenting plan states he has supervised visitation and odd year holidays. He recently found out she was supposed to notify the court. He would like to know his options. He and I can provide a more stable home than she is now. Their boy is having behavior problems. We asked to set up a supervised video confrence visit with the kids. She is not willing.

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Attorney answers 3


Yes, she was supposed to have complied with the relocation act. However, it's been two years now so you have a tempest in a teapot. He should have taken action when he first learned of the move. Since he has already traveled to Co to see the child, there could be an argument made that he constructively consented to the move by not filing an action in Wa. and visitiing his child in Co. You will definitely need to hire an attorney to get this resolved and you may also have to hire an attorney in Co.

The information is for general information purposes only. Nothing stated above should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.


Lots of things are possible. You need to determine whether Washington even has jurisdiction any longer. Breaking the relocation rules are one thing, the reasons for the supervision are another.


She didn't have to notify the court, but to notify him. However, as the others point out, the lapse of time since the move will not look good to the court.

Further, there must have been a significant reason that he has only supervised visitation. That too will remain a strike against his chances to get custody. If he has not complied with any court-ordered conditions, he may even be barred by law from seeking to expand his residential time. See RCW 26.09.260 (7) and (9).

Legal disclaimer: [In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]

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