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Legal Information: Washington


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December 3, 2020

If the parent with primary parenting responsibility is in the military and gets deployed, what happens to that parent's custody or visitation?

If the parent with whom the child primary lives gets deployed or the military requires him/her to temporarily move a substantial distance away, the judge can issue a temporary custody order during that time period. The temporary custody order will end no later than 10 days after the parent returns and provides notice to the child’s temporary custodian (caretaker). However, if a parent/party files a motion that alleges that the child will be in immediate danger of being harmed if returned to his/her parent, the judge can hold an emergency hearing before the child is returned to that parent to decide where the child will live. If there is no motion filed claiming that returning the child will cause harm to the child, the judge will grant a request to restore the previous residential schedule.1

1 R.C.W. § 26.09.260(11)(a)