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Legal Information: Washington


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December 3, 2020

How will a parent’s absence due to military duty be considered when making decisions about custody?

When making a decision about custody, the judge may not consider periods of time when a parent was deployed as time when that parent failed to exercise his/her right to residential time.1

Additionally, if a parent files a motion to transfer custody from the parent serving in the military to a non-military parent, the judge may not consider a parent’s temporary duty, activation, mobilization, or deployment (and the disruption to the child’s schedule because of a parent’s military duty) when determining if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.2

1 R.C.W § 26.09.260(8)(b)
2 R.C.W § 26.09.260(11)(b)