Every parent wants to spend as much time as possible with his or her children. In Washington State, parenting time is usually split equally between two parents unless a judge finds that one parent’s time should be restricted based on certain limiting factors.

Washington State statutes outline circumstances when a judge may decide to limit parenting time, and circumstances when a judge must limit parenting time. If any of these circumstances apply to you or your former partner, you can expect them to have an impact on the amount of parenting time awarded.

The court is required to look out for the best interest of any children involved in a case. In some situations, a parent’s past behavior is so dangerous that the court is required to limit the amount of time he or she spends with the children. These circumstances include:

  • Willful abandonment of the child or a substantial refusal to perform parenting functions for an extended period of time,
  • Physical, sexual, or emotional child abuse,
  • A history of domestic violence or sexual assault, or
  • Conviction of certain sex offenses

In other situations, a parent’s past behavior may not be as dangerous, but it is still a cause for concern. If a parent’s history includes any of the following limiting factors, the court has the option to choose to restrict a parent’s time with his or her children:

  • History of neglect or substantial nonperformance in parenting functions,
  • Emotional or physical impairments which interfere with a person’s ability to perform parenting functions,
  • Long-term impairment resulting from drug or alcohol abuse that interferes with parenting functions,
  • Lack of emotional ties between the parent and child,
  • The abusive use of conflict by the parent which creates the danger of serious damage to the child’s psychological development,
  • A history of withholding the other parent’s access to the child without good cause, or
  • Any other factors or conduct that the court finds would be adverse to the best interests of the child.

This section of the statute specifically allows a judge to limit a person’s parenting time based on other, non-listed factors. This section allows a judge to evaluate each family’s particular circumstances and make a decision on parenting time that will promote each child’s wellbeing.

If you are facing any of these limiting factors, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side to get as much parenting time with your children as possible. At Pacific Northwest Family Law, our lawyers can help you and your former partner come up with a parenting plan that fits your family’s needs and ensures that your children are cared for.

To schedule your appointment or learn more about parenting plans, contact our office today by calling 590-572-3700.