Understanding Parenting Plans In Washington Divorces

Going through a divorce can be difficult, especially when children are involved. Like most other states, Washington offers joint custody as an option for divorcing parents; however, the state’s laws do not use the specific terms of custody or visitation and instead use the term parenting plans to refer to any agreements parents may devise for how to deal with their shared children. The following provides some insight on what these plans can and should entail.

First, parenting plans should list where and with whom the child will reside the majority of the time. The plan should also address how the parents will make certain decisions about the child, such as medical care and other issues. Additionally, a plan should address how the parents will resolve any future issues regarding the care and up-bringing of their children.

In all cases, the court will make determinations based on the best interests of the child. Before approving a parenting plan, a judge will take into consideration the child’s relationship with both parents as well as the parents’ abilities to provide for the child emotionally and financially. Other factors that a judge will look at are whether a parent will remain involved in the child’s life and help make good judgments regarding important aspects of the child’s life, such as education.

In the best circumstances, Washington parents going through a divorce would be able to work together and devise parenting plans with little or no contention. However, this is not always the case, which is why family court judges hold the authority to make the final determination. As such, each parent would do well to retain the services of a family law attorney to help guide him or her through the process and reach a viable plan that will serve all involved for years to come.

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The Law Offices of Stacy D. Heard, PLLC

Stacy Heard is an accomplished and well-respected family law attorney in Seattle, Washington who has served clients for over 20 years. Stacy specializes in matrimonial and family law. She handles matters of divorce, high-conflict parenting plan/child custody issues, international custody disputes and Hague Convention cases, complex financial issues, relocation, restraining orders, child support, and modifications of Parenting Plans and Child Support Orders.