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If I want to relocate to a different state with my daughter, do I need some kind of court order?

Seattle, WA |

I want to divorce my husband and relocate to a different state with my daughter, but I would like to know do I need to go to court to get a court order or something that allows me to have permission to take my daughter to a different state with me? Thank you...

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Attorney answers 3


Yes, There is a whole process for a divorce and if you plan to be the primary residential parent and move out of your school district you are going to need a court order. All states have signed onto the UCCJEA which provides that jurisdiction is in the state where the child has most recently been residing, and that remains true for six months, precisely to dissuade parents from absconding with their child in order to gain a tactical advantage in litigation. Not that you would ever do that, of course.
Doing a relocation within the context of a dissolution is possible but difficult. This is not self-help law, and it is not a good idea to get help from a paralegal or from the internet either. Your best outcome will be if you find and hire a local, well-regarded family law attorney who regularly practices in the same court. Elizabeth Powell

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Don't relocate without a court order. Otherwise it's probable that the court would order the child to be returned to WA until the divorce is final; also, it's possible that you would be committing the crime of "custodial interference". See my AVVO Legal Guides on custody, relocation and interstate custody jurisdiction for more information about the legal issues raised by your inquiry. Please keep in mind that although my AVVO Answers and Legal Guides are often informative, they are no substitute for legal advice from an attorney you have retained for consultation or representation. There are always exceptions to the general rules. To find my Legal Guides, click on my photo. On my AVVO home page click on "Contributor Level - View Contributions" or scroll down further and click on "Contribution - Legal Guides." Scroll down the list of my 32 Legal Guides and select the topics relevant to your question. If you like my answer and Legal Guides, please make sure you mark them as “helpful” or “best answer”. © Bruce Clement

©Bruce Clement. This AVVO Answer is provided for general educational purposes only. By using or participating in this site you agree and understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the attorney responding, and no attorney-client confidentiality. The law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information provided in this Answer is general in nature and may not apply to the factual circumstances described in your question. The applicable law and the appropriate answer may be different in the State or States where the relevant facts occurred. For a definitive answer you should seek legal advice from an attorney who (1) is licensed to practice in the state which has jurisdiction; (2) has experience in the area of law you are asking about, and (3) has been retained as your attorney for representation or consultation. Your question and the attorney’s answer may be used for promotional or educational purposes.


Because you start your question with "I want to divorce my husband" you can seek a relocation in the process of divorcing your husband. If you are the residential parent, there is what we call a "rebuttable presumption " and you will more likely than not, prevail in your quest. But you have to be ordered the residential parent first and not just temporarily. If your husband objects, it will more likely go to trial.or Arbitration for a final determination. These cases are hotly contested often times.

I can tell you that these are very difficult cases and the court typically will not allow a move until resolved unless you can meet the 11 factors required. at a temporary hearing. I suggest you hire an attorney and good luck.

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