The future holds an abundance of unpredictable situations that parents may have yet to account for during child custody proceedings. With that said, some custody arrangements and parenting plans may no longer be suitable when an unforeseeable event happens, which can significantly affect children. One of these situations could be a parent’s relocation due to work, living conditions or other similar reasons.
What Washington’s custody laws say
Sudden changes in circumstances are quite common in child custody cases and Washington acknowledges this. Hence, the state allows parents to modify the custody and parenting plan terms to accommodate the changes.
However, custody modification is not as easy as changing one’s phone passcode. Parents requesting custody alterations must first prove the following before the court determines whether the modification is necessary:
- There is a substantial change in circumstances involving the parent or the child.
- The change necessitates modifying the original custody order.
- The modification is essential to upkeep the child’s best interests.
The courts usually consider a parent’s relocation as a substantial change in circumstances. However, it may not necessarily be essential to the child’s well-being. The court will be the one to determine whether it is necessary to modify the custody order based on the available facts and circumstances.
Do not let the abrupt change pressure you
If you are a parent who is dealing with a sudden relocation, it is best to review the circumstances surrounding your case before you file a petition to modify the custody order. This is to ensure that your situation falls under the state’s requirements. Otherwise, you would be wasting time, energy and funds.
If you have the resources and opportunity, working with a compassionate and focused legal team can be an option.