Washington family law recognizes a rebuttable presumption that relocation of a child under a parenting plan will be permitted. That presumption does not apply, however, if the parents have “substantially equal residential time.” “Substantially equal time” generally means the child spends at least 45% of their residential time with each parent pursuant to a court order. RCW 26.09.525. A father recently challenged a relocation, partly because the trial court applied the presumption by considering how the residential time changed under a Domestic Violence Protection Order (“DVPO”).
According to the appeals court’s opinion, the mother sought a DVPO against the father after seeing severe bruising on their two-year-old daughter.
The mother filed a notice of intent to move the children. She asked that the father be evaluated for substance abuse and anger management or domestic violence and comply with the treatment recommendations. She also requested the court suspend his residential time for non-compliance.