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What are the primary factors in a Washington parenting plan?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2022 | Family Law |

Divorce is a difficult process, especially when children are involved. For Washington State couples who are ending their marriage and moving on, one of the most common and contentious topics for dispute is how the children will be situated. Child custody can be complicated, but even after the custody determination is made, people will want to know when and for how long they will get to spend time with their child.

A parenting plan is designed to serve the child’s best interests. Parents who are worried about their rights must be fully aware of what is considered as part of the parenting plan. When there are disagreements, it does not necessarily mean that the case will be unsolvable. The parents must think about the children, the other parent’s rights, the law and how to ensure the transition is seamless so the child can be safe and thrive.

Essential points about a Washington parenting plan

During the case, a parenting plan will detail how the child will be cared for, where they will live, how decisions are made regarding their welfare and what happens if there is a parental dispute. Washington State parents are expected to work together for the child’s well-being. The way the living arrangement is done depends on the situation. Perhaps a parent has a job that makes it better for them to have the child on weekends. Or they might be more flexible for a few nights a week. Regardless, the child’s interests take precedence.

The court will want to know that the child is safe, is receiving proper nutrition, is clothed, goes to school, has appropriate supervision, takes part in extracurricular activities, is encouraged to have a relationship with the other parent and family members. The court orders a parenting plan to have a schedule and avoid rancor. Some parents might have the ability to create one on their own, but this should be done in cases where they are on reasonably good terms. Once the court assesses a plan the parents have created, they will generally agree to it.

Parenting plans can be changed or adjusted as needed, but the parents may not agree on how it should be adjusted. If a parent is relocating, then the plan could need to be updated. That can cause discord that the court will need to address.

For parenting plans and other family law issues, having advice can be vital

Some cases are acrimonious. If, for example, there was infidelity in the relationship or the sides simply cannot get on the same page about any issue, then the court could need to intervene to order a parenting plan even if the parents do not have a positive relationship. They must be able to communicate about child-related matters. Extreme cases might involve allegations or a history of domestic abuse. This will be a major factor in the determination.

Although it is emotionally challenging to try and maintain at least cordial relations with the other parent, especially following a divorce, it is imperative to think about the children. Naturally, if there are safety factors involved and a parent is worried that the other parent is unfit or makes decisions that place the child in jeopardy, these should be shown to ensure the court takes appropriate steps.

People need to know they have caring help in their corner. This is vital for those who live in smaller communities, want a personal approach and may need assistance from those who speak their language. It is important to remember that their concerns are not unique and there are viable solutions to every problem. For advice and guidance from the start, people should consult with professionals who have a history with assisting people with their family law cases. This accords protection and help to reach a favorable resolution that will benefit the parents and the child.