Negotiating child custody arrangements during your divorce was already a difficult task, but if you now find yourself needing to relocate, the situation becomes even more complex. The courts emphasize and encourage the active involvement of both parents in their children’s lives, even after divorce.

Consequently, many divorce decrees involving shared children include provisions regarding the geographical area where the primary custodial parent must reside, known as a domicile restriction. If you are subject to such a restriction and have to move, it is crucial to petition the court for a child custody modification prior to your relocation.

Conversely, if your ex intends to relocate with your children and you wish to prevent it, you will need to seek court intervention. Although seeking a modification for relocation or opposing such a move can be intricate, a skilled relocation lawyer can guide you towards the best course of action.

If the judge in your case determines that your relocation is in the best interest of your children and does not infringe upon the rights of the other parent, it is likely that your petition for relocation will be granted.


Regrettably, it’s a common occurrence for homeowners and contractors to forego formal written agreements, instead relying on bids or invoices. This practice has resulted in numerous lawsuits due to misunderstandings that could have been avoided if the parties had clarified their expectations from the outset. To prevent such conflicts, it’s crucial to include specific construction tasks in writing, written change orders for any work beyond the original contract, an attorney’s fees clause, payment dates and schedules, and a total project cost not to exceed. If you’re a homeowner and a contractor took your deposit but failed to complete or poorly executed the work, you can seek legal action against them and their bond if available.

On the other hand, if you’re a contractor and a homeowner refuses to pay you for your agreed-upon work, you can file a lien on the property where the work was carried out to secure payment.

When Both Parents Agree on Relocation

If one parent needs to relocate and the other parent agrees to the plans, court involvement is unnecessary. However, it is advisable to file a written agreement with the court to prevent potential issues if your ex later denies the agreement and accuses you of violating the child custody terms established during the divorce. WA courts only enforce domicile restrictions when a parent files a complaint, citing a violation and requesting enforcement. Should your ex-spouse change their stance, you may face such a complaint.

If Your Ex Objects to Your Relocation

If you are the parent planning to relocate and your ex disagrees with the move, you must either find a mutually acceptable resolution or present the matter to the court by filing a motion to modify. In making its decision, the court will consider several factors, including:

  • Motivation for Moving: The court will carefully evaluate your reasons for relocating, seeking genuine motives such as career advancement that would result in improved financial benefits for your children, better educational opportunities, or any direct benefit to your children’s well-being. Conversely, if you aim to prevent your ex from moving with your children, it is essential to understand that the court views moves driven by parental alienation unfavorably.
  • Impact on the Noncustodial Parent: The court will thoroughly assess how your proposed move will affect the parent who will remain in the current location. You will need to demonstrate how visitation with the other parent can be maintained, possibly assuming responsibility for travel expenses. The court seeks solutions that address the unique circumstances involved. Additionally, the noncustodial parent’s history of consistent visitation with your children will be taken into account, and a pattern of consistent absences may not support their case.
  • Effect on Relationships with Extended Family: The court recognizes the importance of maintaining relationships with both sides of the child’s extended family. Therefore, it will evaluate the impact your proposed move may have on these relationships.
  • Children’s Wishes: Depending on the ages of your children, the court may inquire about their preferences regarding the move.
  • Other Relevant Factors: The court has the discretion to consider any other factors related to the proposed move that it deems relevant. Ultimately, the court’s primary concern is the best interests of the children involved, and it will explore any relevant aspects to reach a decision.

Pitbull in a Designer Suit

I hired Ms. Smythe to represent me during my divorce. It was to be a 3 year ordeal. My spouse was a well known doctor in the area and full of confidence that he was going to drag me through the gutter for leaving him after I discovered his numerous affairs and many secrets. And believe me, he tried. Ms. Smythe saw him for what he was and went to work. She was articulate, educated, had integrity for days, was never ever intimidated and had laser focus. She was also very conscientious of my financial plight at the time. She never misled me and was honest about what to expect. We won BIG! Every woman needs a brilliant pit bull in her corner when divorcing a dog. I leave you with this: My ex-husband refers his friends to her if they are in need of a divorce attorney.

Anonymous Client

Highly Recommended

Stacey helped me with my highly contested divorce. She handled several post-divorce and support modification issues for me that were stressful and time consuming. I felt reassured the entire time that she had a handle on all of it. I was relieved to say the least. I would highly recommend her for any Family Law Matter.


What A Relief!

I was referred to Ms. Smythe by a friend after sharing my concerns about my family law matter. I had been told by previous lawyers that I was “fighting an uphill battle” and that they wouldn’t take my case due to the low likelihood that they could achieve an outcome I would be agreeable with. I greatly appreciate their honesty. My friend told me her friend got “exactly what he was looking for” from being represented by Ms. Smythe. I scheduled a meeting with her; after answering the basic questions to establish who was involved in the matter, Ms. Smythe asked me what my ideal resolution would be. I told her what that would be and she explained very frankly what the challenges were. She also shared with me how my goals could be achieved, and, based on her counsel I chose to retain her. Ms. Smythe and her associates took the matter and ran with it. Within 6 months (with very little effort on my end) they were able to get me, literally, exactly what my ideal outcome was.


Above and Beyond!

Jordan went above and beyond to take her time in helping me with a very difficult situation. She was informative, supportive and extremely knowledgeable! She not only listened, but she provided me so much legal advice. I will proudly give her my business and recommend her to others.


A dedicated lawyer and personal advocate

Stacy and her team did an superb job on my divorce case. Succinct and tactful job presenting, during the hearing, the most pertinent particularities of the case. As someone who is easily intimidated and struggles with self-advocacy Stacey and her team were instrumental to it’s overall positive outcome for the bigger whole. My heartfelt gratitude.


Best Outcome Possible

Jordan represented me in a lengthy case. Her representation and expertise made the process less painful and she made sure I received the best outcome possible. I so appreciate her time and expertise and highly recommend her to anyone. 

Anonymous Client

Top Notch Family Law & Probate Attorney

My spouse was going under the knife in two days when I contacted Stacey. She really pulled out the stops to get a durable power of attorney, health care proxy and last will and testament together for us both. I was referred to Stacy by a friend who used her in her divorce case, and who loved her work. She’s fast, reliable, and really good at what she does. I can’t recommend her highly enough.



Stacey was instrumental in getting my Parenting Plan worked out. She walked me through the process and help craft the plan that worked best for me and my son. Very knowledgeable, helpful, and knows how to get things done!


Compassionate, Supportive & Professional

Stacey Smythe was highly recommended by two of my friends who had used her in their divorce. She was very compassionate, supportive and professional at one of the lowest times in my life. All the legal stuff that comes along with a divorce can be very confusing and she took the time to make sure I understood the process. I would highly recommend her to anyone needing a good attorney for divorce, child custody or estate planning.