Washington Father’s Rights Lawyer
Fathers have certain legal rights to be involved in their children’s lives that need to be protected. When you need to understand your rights as a father, a knowledgeable Washington father’s rights lawyer can help.
A seasoned attorney can assist with establishing paternity, drafting parenting plans, explaining and instituting child support, drafting motions to modify existing agreements, negotiating with the opposing party, and drafting agreements accordingly.
Father’s Rights Under Washington Law
Instead of using the terms custody and visitation, Washington uses the term parenting plan to encompass these two issues. Washington considers the best interests and wishes of the child the most important factor when awarding custody. This means the child’s needs and wishes are placed ahead of the parents’ desires.
There are two types of child custody in a parenting plan – legal custody and physical custody. A person with legal custody has the authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child such as health care, education, and religious upbringing. Physical custody means that the child lives primarily with one parent and the other parent, the non-custodial parent, will have visitation rights under a parenting plan agreement.
Considerations in Custody
Courts may award either type of custody solely to one parent or jointly to both. Some criteria the court will apply when contemplating a joint custody arrangement are:
- Amount of each parent’s participation in the care of the child
- Geographic proximity of the parents to each other
- Interest and willingness of each parent to cooperate in the upbringing of the child
Courts expect parents to prepare a parenting plan prior to the first court appearance that addresses child-related issues. The court will review the plan and either approve it or reject it. If it is rejected, the plan needs to be revised and resubmitted for the court’s approval. A Washington father’s rights attorney can help someone with any additional questions about child custody.
How Parenting Plans Affect Visitation
Washington law allows for liberal visitation in the parenting plan for the non-custodial parent if joint custody is not ordered. However, there are limits if a parent has a history of abusing the child or abandoned the child for a long period of time. Under these circumstances, the court may order supervised visitation as part of the parenting plan.
If there is already a parenting plan in place, it may be modified under Washington law if there is a substantial change in circumstance. A parent who seeks modification of an order will need to submit a motion to the court to request such modification. The motion needs to specifically state the changed circumstance, make a request for a change, and explain why the change will serve the child’s best interests.
Washington Fathers’ Rights Attorney is Ready to Help
Washington law may seem confusing and the process to exercise your rights may seem overwhelming. Additionally, you and your ex-spouse may be fighting about the terms of the parenting plan. Even if you agree, you may not understand all aspects of what to expect from a balanced parenting plan.
It may be essential for you to consult a knowledgeable Washington fathers’ rights lawyer to protect your rights. A dedicated attorney is ready to help you at any stage of your case.