We ensure that we listen to each client thoroughly
Establishing a Final Parenting Plan can often be the most heated, emotional, and most contested part of a divorce. In Washington State, a court order known as a “Parenting Plan” addresses a child’s residential schedule with the custodial parent and gives a visitation schedule to the non-custodial parent. Under Washington law, the court must make sure the agreement is “…in the child’s best interest” and every Parenting Plan contains a detailed list of holidays, vacations, breaks, and decision making authority that becomes an order that both parents must follow.
At Soloman Law, we have built a reputation of helping clients find and establish the best Parenting Plan through negotiations or mediations or trial. We ensure that we listen to each client thoroughly so that we can know and understands the strengths and weaknesses of the parenting plan that may be in dispute and also to craft the plan that truly is in the child’s best interest.
What are your options?
There are several types of custody and visitation schedules that you and the other parent may agree upon, or a judge will order and impose if agreement cannot be reached. In some parenting plans, the judge may grant the designated custodial parent more than 50% of the parenting time in a calendar year. Parents, or the judge, can divide and allocate this visitation time in several ways. For example, some plans have a week on/week off schedule. Other plans have a schedule where the school week is shared and weekends are alternated. Also, the schedule may change during the summer months when the children are not in school and alternating of special occasions and breaks and holidays.
If there are deficiencies or addictions or abusive violence in a spouse’s past or his or her parenting skills or commitment, the court can limit residential time for that parent. The court can also order one parent to have limited contact, supervised contact, or even no contact at all depending on the risk and potential harm to the child or the child’s environment. Under some legally defined limitations, the court must restrict or deny decision-making abilities to the offending parent.
We have an extensive background in all areas of Washington child custody and can facilitate any type of custody case including:
- Custody and visitation in divorce cases
- Modification of custody
- Temporary agreements
- Cases involving abuse or neglect
- Unmarried parents
- Paternity disputes
- Failure to comply with parenting plan / Contempt
- Mediation and litigation
What factors can affect a custody case?
When the parents agree on all of the terms of parenting rights and visitation during a divorce, one of the attorneys can draw up a parenting plan for the judge’s review and approval. When parents cannot reach terms, the judge must review all the facts of the case and determine what is in the best interests of the child.
During custody proceedings, the judge looks at various issues that can affect the life of the child. Below are just some of the factors, listed in RCW § 26.09.187(3) that a judge will consider:
- The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent
- The agreements of the parties, provided each party entered them knowingly and voluntarily
- Each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting functions
- The emotional needs and developmental level of the child
- The child’s relationship with siblings and with other significant adults, as well as the child’s involvement with his or her physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities
- The wishes of the parents and the wishes of a child who is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to his or her residential schedule
- Each parent’s employment schedule
The court will also examine each parent’s desire to compromise with the other parent and any risk factors present, such as domestic violence, child abuse, and chemical dependence, and consider how these issues could potentially affect residential time.
What types of provisions are included in parenting plans?
A parenting plan can be as detailed and personalized as the parents so choose. Some of the basic provisions that most parenting plans contain include:
- The visitation schedule, including for the school year, vacations, holidays, and special occasions, as well as backup plans
- Transportation arrangements
- Relocation terms
- Child care arrangements
- Which parent makes major decisions such as education decisions and religious upbringing
- How the parties will settle any disputes that arise
- How the parties allocate expenses for dispute settlement
Whatever the case may be, Soloman Law can help. We place top priority on getting to know our clients and the issues that are most important to them. We will take the time to understand your situation so that we can advocate on your behalf and help you get the best decision for you and your family.
If you need assistance with any family law action involving child custody, call our firm at 206-355-4555 to schedule a consultation appointment.
today to learn more about how we can help you.