When married couples who have children divorce in Washington, they must come up with a parenting plan. This document details how they will share time with their children and make decisions together.
If you face this situation, review the aspects of a parenting plan and factors used to determine custody in the state.
Creating a parenting plan
You and your spouse can negotiate a parenting plan together or ask the court to decide on your behalf. You can also go through the mediation process. In any case, you must end up with a plan that includes information about how you will resolve conflicts with one another, make decisions together about the child’s upbringing and share time fairly in a way that supports the child’s best interests. When you are able to agree on a plan, you can submit it to the court for review.
Deciding custody in court
When you have a conflict about custody with your child’s other parent, you can ask the court to create a parenting plan as part of your divorce settlement. The judge will make this determination based on your child’s best interests by considering whether each parent can provide monetary support, use sound judgment, support the child’s education, fulfill the child’s needs, and provide both love and stability. You and your spouse can also file your separate parenting plans for the judge to review before proceeding.
Once the judge signs the parenting plan, you and your spouse have a legal obligation to follow its provisions. Otherwise, the judge can find you in contempt of court.