Joint Custody in Washington

Many people refer to the term “joint custody” without really knowing what it means. The fact is that Washington law does not use the terms “joint custody,” “custody,” or “visitation.” Rather, the law refers to a child’s residential schedule, which specifically defines the different time periods that the child spends with each parent. This schedule is set forth in a parenting plan or scheduling order. This document sets out the rules for who the children will live with and when and should be addressed with the assistance of a child custody attorney.

Meaning of “Joint” Custody in Washington

Joint custody could mean different things to different people. Some people refer to the ability to make decisions for their children. They don’t want their ex to be able to choose their child’s doctors, schools, or religion without their input. Most parenting plans require this type of joint custody, referred to as joint decision making. This means that both parents must agree on before there are major decisions made for the child. With the help of an attorney, you can also agree with your ex that other decisions will not be made without your input such as joining the military, tattoos, or piercings.

Another form of joint custody is splitting the time equally that children spend with each parent. So that joint custody could mean that the children spend one week with you and one week with your ex, or any combination of days and times that makes sense for your family. The residential schedule is a fact intense determination that requires an examination of many factors. These factors include school schedule, where each parent lives, a parent’s work schedule, and other factors that help keep any new rules for your family grounded in the reality of day-to-day living.

Importance of a Strong Plan

Getting the right parenting plan is important. It will set the tone for your family after the relationship you’re your spouse or partner ends. Contact Ashby Law today and we will show you how we can help with your Washington child custody case. Our attorneys focus their practice primarily on family law, so we are sure to have the skills that you need for proper representation in your custody case. We are here to answer all of your questions, calm your concerns, and help you through the often difficult process of contested child custody and family law cases.

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