When you and your child’s other parent divorce or otherwise separate, one or both of you may turn to the Washington court system for orders related to your child, such as residential schedules and child support. The outcome of any type of family law proceeding involving children is a parenting plan, which sets forth the child’s residential schedule, or the schedule by which the child will spend time with both parents. A parenting plan also typically sets up information sharing and communications methods, telephone access, and transportation of the children. In some cases, parents may ask for a more detailed parenting plan that covers as many situations as possible, particularly if they want to limit contact with one another to the greatest extent possible.

While it may seem like common sense to list both parents as contact persons at a child’s school and doctor’s office, one parent is sometimes unwilling to compromise on this issue. In many cases, one parent will attempt to block the other parent from the child’s life by providing the school or doctor with no information about the child’s other parent. This can lead to difficulties when a parent wants to access a child’s grades, pick the child up from school, or take the child to the doctor’s office.

Except in the rarest of circumstances, such as if one parent is incarcerated or there is a domestic violence situation, a child’s school and the doctor should both have updated contact information for both of the child’s parents. This is the case even if the non-residential parent, or the parent with whom the child spends the least amount of time, never picks the child up at school or takes the child to the doctor.

If parents are unable to agree on certain aspects of a parenting plan, the court will hear evidence and then make a determination about different issues in a parenting plan. For this reason, it is often far preferable for both parents to negotiate their own parenting plan, which is likely to be much more acceptable to both parents.

Family law proceedings can vary greatly from case to case, and some cases are much more complex than others. No matter what issues arise in your family law proceedings, however, we are here to help. The lawyers at Pacific Northwest Family Law have handled countless family law cases throughout the years, as well as all other family law-related matters. Contact an experienced Washington family law attorney today so that we can explain your rights and responsibilities related to various family law matters in the state of Washington.