Working out a child custody arrangement is a very off-putting legal process. A large chunk 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 best 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.

 

Washington State Parenting Plan

The most important thing for separating parents to know about child custody laws in Washington state is proper terminology. For example, the law does not use the words “custody” and “visitation.” The state of Washington combines these terms as refers to them as “parenting plan.”

So, when you go to court, the goal of the family law judge is to decide which parenting plan is in the best interest of the child.

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 a parenting plan 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.

Working out a child custody arrangement is a very off-putting legal process. A large chunk 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 best course of action for child custody.

 

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 best for the child.

 

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 we 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 lawyers in Washington state to support you through the process of establishing a parenting plan, please contact us or send us an email at info@lacostefamilylaw.com .