Numerous concerns must be addressed when finalizing your divorce. One of the most difficult aspects involves child custody and parenting time. If you and your spouse agree to the key aspects, you can come up with your own “parenting plan”, or else, the matter would be up to the judge to decide. It is important to understand that the term “custody” is not used in Washington. Instead, it is called “residential time”, which determines the parenting plan or the time each parent gets with the child. If you believe that you have an awful legal battle ahead, working with a Gig Harbor child support attorney can help. Here are some aspects worth knowing.
What does a parenting plan determine?
A parenting plan only comes into order after the judge has approved it. It will determine the time that each parent can spend with the child, besides logistics related to transfers. The parenting plan will also determine the authority of each parent in making major decisions related to the child’s life. It will also describe the process of how parents can resolve disputes in the future related to parenting issues.
Things to understand
Parents should always consider coming up with a parenting plan that’s in the “best interests” of the child and is acceptable to both parties. If you and the other parent cannot discuss the parenting plans or don’t have a decision, the court will typically recommend mediation in the hope of a possible resolution. If mediation fails, both parents can submit their parenting plans to the court, and the judge will pass an order keeping all aspects in consideration.
How does the court decide on the parenting plan?
The judge will consider various things, including the child’s relationship with each parent. The history of each parent with regards to providing care for the child, the emotional needs of the child, and the child’s age are critical factors. If the child is sufficiently mature to have an opinion, the court will consider that too. In many cases, the lifestyle and work schedule of the parents will influence the judge’s decision.
Do you need a child support attorney?
The short answer is yes. The last thing you would want is to go to a trial for the parenting plan or your divorce. Instead of battling it out in court, you should hire a child support attorney who can work with your spouse and their lawyer to develop an acceptable arrangement.
An appropriate parenting plan is not just about adhering to the parents’ wishes but about focusing on the child’s well-being. An attorney can help you understand things from a new perspective.