Consult a Child Custody Lawyer in Washington State
Working out a child custody arrangement is a very off-putting legal process. Most of the time, the custody battle happens alongside divorce and possibly even a spousal support case. This is followed up by child custody and even establishing visitation rights.
In most states – Washington included – joint custody is an option. The court, however, will consider the best interest of the child to determine the most appropriate course of action for child custody.
Making things even more dicey, grandparents do have visitation rights they can fight for in the state of Washington.
If you or a loved one is going through a custody battle and need a child custody lawyer in Washington State, LaCoste Law can help.
Parenting Plans in Washington State
The most important thing for separating parents to know about child custody laws in Washington State is the proper terminology. For example, the law does not use the words “custody” and “visitation.” Instead, it refers to these terms jointly as “parenting plans.”
So, when you go to court, the goal of the family law judge is to decide which parenting plan is in the child’s best interests.
In most cases, the judge will award primary custody to the parent who attended to most of the child’s needs prior to the divorce/separation. The state does encourage both parents to participate equally in parenting children.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the judge will establish one on your behalf. A parenting plan needs to include the following information:
- The details of the child’s living arrangements
- The process of making decisions regarding the child
- The process of resolving any future issues
Frequently Asked Washington State Child Custody Questions
Below are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding parenting plans and child custody.
How much does it cost to file parenting plans in the state of Washington?
When filing a parenting plan, you must pay a filing fee and a photocopying fee. You may also need to pay a fee to have the other spouse served with the paperwork. While the filing fee can cost anywhere from $200 to $350, you can file a special form to avoid the fee if you cannot afford to pay it.
Can the child choose where he or she lives?
Under Washington State law, a child does not have any say in their residential decisions. In some cases, an older child may get to express their opinion, but ultimately, the court makes a decision based on the child’s age, maturity, and ultimately, what’s in their best interest.
What happens if you violate a parenting plan?
Violating a parenting plan puts you in contempt of court. It can also result in consequences regarding visitation and custody.
What if you were never married?
Legally, you still have rights to your child regardless of your marital status.
Don’t Go Through Your Child Custody Battle Alone
If you are looking for the best child custody lawyer in Washington State to support you in establishing a parenting plan, please contact us at (509) 392-8000 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.