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Legal Information: Washington

Custody

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Updated: 
December 3, 2020

What type of notice do I have to give the other parent if I want to relocate out of my child's school district?

There is very specific information that must be included in the notice of intended relocation. You can read about what needs to be included in the notice by going to our WA Statutes page and reading section 26.09.440 of the law, sub-sections (2)(a) and (2)(b). 

There are also specific requirements about how the notice must be served.  The notice of the intended relocation, with all of the required information, must be:

  1. given by personal service or any form of mail requiring a return receipt to each person who should be given notice; and
  2. given:
    • at least 60 days before the date of the intended relocation of the child; or
    • if it is not possible to give at least 60 days’ notice because you did not know (and could not reasonably have known) the information that you have to provide in the notice and it is not reasonable to delay the relocation, you must give the notice no more than 5 days after you know the required information.1

Note: There are exceptions to the notice requirements if you are entering a domestic violence shelter or if you are relocating to avoid a clear, immediate, and unreasonable risk to the health or safety of you or your child - in these cases, notice may be delayed for twenty-one days.  Also, if you believe that the health or safety of you or your child would be unreasonably put at risk by giving notice or by revealing certain information in the notice, you can file for an ex parte hearing and the judge may waive all or part of the notice requirements.  “Ex parte” means that the judge can hold a hearing or issue an order without the other party having prior notice or being in court.  If you are in the Address Confidentiality Program or you have a court order that allows you to withhold some or all of the information in the notice, you may not have to provide the confidential or protected information in the notice.2 

For information on any forms you may need to file to relocate or to object to a relocation, you may want to talk to a lawyer or ask the court clerk. You can find legal referrals on our WA Finding a Lawyer page and court contact information on our WA Courthouse Locations page.

For more information, the Northwest Women’s Law Center has the following self-help packets about relocation, which you may find useful: Self-Help Guide for Getting an Ex Parte Order to Move with Your Children; Self-Help Guide to Following Washington’s Relocation Law; and Questions and Answers about Washington’s Relocation Law.

1 R.C.W. § 26.09.440(1)
2 R.C.W. § 26.09.460(1)-(4)