How do you obtain child custody in Washington State?
First, you will need a parenting plan. It is a legal document that is filed with the court, describing when each parent will have the child, who has the final word, and what the parents will do when their opinions differ.
This document is essential to enforce child custody arrangements and visitation schedules. As long as you and the other parent are on the same page, negotiating the parenting plan’s terms should not be difficult. You will need a parenting plan before seeing a judge, who will eventually sign off on it or request amendments in some cases. Ultimately, the court has the final say.
If you seek full custody, how to win a child custody case in Washington comes down to whether the arrangement is best for the child all around–from their education to health. When the law deems one parent “unfit,” the other parent may be given full custody.
The judge will also consider each parent’s part in the child’s life. They will examine your finances to see if you can cover your child’s basic needs, as well as your habits and home life to ensure they both support your child’s well-being. The court aims to keep all children together, so if there are siblings involved, that may factor into the judge’s decision of who gets custody.
Custody arrangements–especially post-divorce–can be tricky if communication is not there. The judge will look at your co-parenting skills to make sure the parenting plan is realistic before approving anything. As always, you can consult a child custody lawyer if you need a second pair of eyes or someone to spearhead the child custody process.
Can you get 50/50 custody in Washington State?
Yes. Acquiring 50/50 custody (joint custody) is possible. However, it is not the norm. In Washington, one parent is often granted primary custody to give the child a sense of stability in a time of difficult changes, especially during divorce. The court will not approve a 50/50 custody arrangement if it puts a child in harm’s way or if there have been any domestic violence incidents.
Many parents seek a 50/50 custody arrangement to share responsibilities and split time equally with the other parent. Children can benefit from this emotionally, but it can also be detrimental to their well-being if both parents are not on board or able to care for them to the best of their abilities.
50/50 custody only works if the parents are on the same page. There must be a good line of communication, a clear understanding of the schedule, and agreement on parenting decisions. It is important to note that if one parent moves too far from the child’s school, joint custody is unlikely since it may impact their education.
Also, while a 50/50 custody arrangement may suggest all duties and time are split, there may be times when the other parent needs to modify the schedule (e.g., for an out-of-town meeting). That is okay, and it is your responsibility to work out the details as you see fit.
Who is considered an “unfit parent” in Washington State?
An “unfit parent” is one who provides unsuitable living conditions for a child. They may have problems with drugs or alcohol (or both), and they may resort to physical or mental abuse. None of these things contribute to a healthy environment for children.
If your former partner exhibits any questionable behavior that can be disruptive or harmful to your child, it is important to let your attorney know. The court will need evidence of this for their parental assessment before finalizing the parenting plan.
Non-parental custody in Washington State happens on occasion if neither parent can give their child the life they deserve. Whether you are a parent seeking custody or a family member interested in filing for non-parental custody, our law office can help.
What do you do if you have no parenting plan in Washington State?
Without a parenting plan, there may be no way to prove that the other parent is not abiding by the agreed-upon terms. Filing a parenting plan may seem complicated and take up time that you might not have. Yet, it is essential to outline your responsibilities, custody arrangement, and visitation schedule with the other parent.
Even if you have a good relationship with the other parent, a verbal custody agreement (without a written parenting plan) can present issues. For instance, one parent may claim to have misunderstood the terms of your agreement, and they may keep the child longer than expected. A parenting plan can prevent this from happening and ensure that the child sees both parents as often as the court deems appropriate.
You may modify a parenting plan if the agreement does not work for any reason, such as if you get a new job that requires more travel time. Also, if you take night classes and need the other parent to pick the child up from daycare, a modification may be necessary.
Contact a child custody attorney, such as Erin Bradley McAleer, if you need help creating or modifying a parenting plan. We will work with you to set the best schedule for your child and file the parenting plan with the court on your behalf. It is easy to work with us. We are experts in child custody laws in Washington State, and we are always up for a challenge.
As a bonus, first consultations are free at our law office. You can ask questions about mothers’ rights and fathers’ rights in Washington State, in addition to how to win a custody case. We will provide complete guidance and straightforward advice on what to do if you are seeking child custody.
Need assistance with your child custody case?
The Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer is here for you. We prioritize children’s safety, health, and happiness. Our objective is to help you devise a parenting plan that works for both caretakers and keeps your child in a position to grow and thrive. Get in touch with our legal office today to schedule an appointment.