“But mom, I don’t want to move to Chicago, I want to stay here with dad.”

Determining a parenting plan in a divorce is never easy, but it is even harder if one of you is moving away to another state. Children need stability, and there is little that disrupts a child’s balance more than their family splitting up.

Schools, clubs and friends can provide essential stability to a child when their parents end their marriage. Not only does it provide a familiar routine, but there are people they can talk to about the changes to their home life — be it friends their age, or adults such as teachers or coaches.

When one parent moves to another state, there is usually a good reason. However, it is essential to consider if the parent’s good reason is a good reason for the child and what effect moving will have on the child’s life.

Sometimes moving is, indeed, the best decision for the child. There may be personal or financial reasons a child should live with a particular parent irrespective of location. Maybe the child will have more opportunities in the new town, or perhaps they are unhappy where they currently live due to bullying and cannot wait to leave.

When children are little, they do not get a say about which parent they live with, but as children get older, Washington state law allows judges to take a child’s wishes into consideration. The older they are, the more their opinion will usually count.