Child custody issues and all other arrangements regarding children are addressed in a family law parenting plan. Typically, parties propose parenting plans and incorporate them with their divorce filings in Washington courts. A divorce attorney in Vancouver WA will almost always file a proposed parenting plan at or near the same time that they file a petition for divorce. However, this is not required. Parenting plans, most notably, provides for where the children will live on a day to day basis, providing an easy to follow set of rules for which parent has the children on which days. Additionally, a parenting plan should decide which parent will make important decisions about the children’s medical, school, and religious needs. The parenting plan should also designate who bears responsibility for transporting the children to and from each parent’s house and appointments. Lastly, a good parenting plan will anticipate that disputes may arise and will address how those disputes should be typically resolved, so new court filings aren’t required for every disagreement.
Proposed parenting plans must be submitted by each party to the court by certain statutory deadlines, so it is important not to delay too long. Failure to file a proposed parenting plan in time can result in the other parent getting their proposed parenting plan granted by the court by default. The court has final approval power over any parenting plan, agreed or otherwise, so it is important to understand what will and will not work in a parenting plan. Getting the help of a family law attorney in Vancouver WA to help you craft your parenting plan can be the difference in getting what you want and running into resistance from the family court.
Washington Parenting Plans
The legal procedure of how and when a parenting plan in Washington must be completed are statute specific. They must be accompanied by a Residential Time Summary Report signed by a party. Courts may appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the children’s interest in where they will live and stay. There may also be interstate federal custody dispute issues under the UCCJEA that must be considered as well. While not impossible for the layperson to navigate, it is very easy to make costly mistakes when trying to “do it yourself” when it comes to your divorce and custody litigation. At Priest & Ellis, we offer a flat-fee $100 family law consultation. We can help answer questions and help you understand why hiring a professional to do the heavy lifting is beneficial. We have the experience to make sure your divorce is procedurally smooth.