The divorce process is more than just about two separating spouses and dividing assets and liabilities. Couples often have to decide on some of the most critical aspects – child custody and support. Washington laws allow both parents to decide on child custody jointly. In fact, terms like “visitation” or “custody” are not used in the state. All arrangements are described in an order called the “parenting plan”. Hiring a Gig Harbor child support attorney will benefit your case regardless of your circumstances. Lawyers can mediate and suggest solutions, especially if you are not on talking terms with your spouse. In this post, we share some key aspects of Washington State child custody laws.
Coming up with a parenting plan
If both parents agree on a joint custody agreement, they can create their parenting plan and submit it to the court. However, this parenting plan doesn’t become official until the judge approves the same. If parents cannot agree on the key aspects, each parent can submit their own proposed parenting plan. The court will typically ask the separating parents to attend mediation to come up with an agreement that is acceptable to both parties and is in the minor child’s best interests.
What does the parenting plan determine?
The parenting plan is a clear custody agreement, where each parent’s rights are mentioned in depth. For instance, the plan will mention where the child will live, the visitation schedule for both parents, specific visitation schedules for holidays, how the transportation would be arranged for the child, and child support. Most parenting plans also clearly state how the parents can resolve disputes in the future. In many cases, the court will come up with a temporary parenting plan until the divorce is finalized or a permanent parenting plan is agreed upon.
Working with a child support attorney
At a time when you are at loggerheads with your spouse on key aspects related to the divorce, the last thing you would want is to compromise on the child’s best interests. However, because the circumstances are so hard, it can be hard to take an objective decision regarding the parenting plan. Working with a child support attorney will help you negotiate things better with your spouse, and that can prevent the matter from becoming a legal battle in court.
With years of experience, child support attorneys can minimize friction and get couples to reconsider their decisions.