When negotiating a parenting plan with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, there are a couple of broad goals that you are looking to achieve. First, the terms of the agreement must address the best interests of the child. Second, it is best if the agreement is clear, concise and as fair as possible to all the parties involved.
And while you and your ex may go back and forth when working out the agreement, it is important to remember that in the state of Washington, a Family Law Judge will ultimately decide if your parenting plan is satisfactory.
- The child's preferences, so long as the child is old enough to clearly articulate his or her wishes.
- Both the child's and parents' psychological and physical health.
- The child's relationship siblings and other adults who are part of his or her life.
- Each parent's ability to care for the child. This includes each parent's work obligations, lifestyle and geographic location.
- The child's involvement in extracurricular activities, school, church and other such pursuits.
These are just some of the important factors that a judge will take into consideration when determining custody rights. As such, it can be very useful to incorporate these factors into the crafting of your parenting agreement. By doing so, you will have a better chance of making sure that your child's needs are being properly addressed.
Typically, if parents work together, they can come up with a parenting plan that will be met with approval by the court. However, if it proves impossible for the parents to agree on the terms of a workable plan, the judge will be the final arbiter.
An experienced Washington family law attorney can work with you on writing an acceptable plan. And if you and your spouse simply cannot reach an agreement, the attorney can represent your interest when the case comes before a Family Law Judge.