For every parent, child custody is the most heart-wrenching aspect of divorce. Divorce can also be difficult for children. In many instances, a child may feel like he or she has to pick sides or choose between parents. This is especially true when it comes to determining with whom the child should live.
Often, parents will negotiate the terms of their parenting plan privately, either between themselves or during mediation. When the parents cannot make a decision, a family court judge will decide how much time each parent gets with the children.
Parenting Plans & Residential Schedules
In Washington State, a child’s residence and other parental rights and responsibilities are addressed in a parenting plan or residential schedule. The Parenting Plan, when signed by a judge, is a court order that establishes residential placement of the children, including where the children will stay, when, and for how long and under what circumstances, and other aspects of parenting, such as decision-making rights and responsibilities for health, religion and education.
Under law, the court’s responsibility is to ensure the arrangements are in the best interest of the children involved. We help our clients understand possible options and the benefits and disadvantages of those options for themselves and for their children. Then we help our clients plan strategically to achieve their goals for themselves and their children.