What are the Washington Child Custody Laws?
Divorces can be nasty, especially for children. But what is even more painstaking is going through the cumbersome legal processes of child custody arrangements. While Washington and other states across the United States do offer joint custody of children after a divorce, they still consider the wishes of the child as well. Many Washington Child Custody Laws also allow the children to visit their grandparents.
Child Custody Options in Washington
Child Custody Laws in Washington, often known as parenting plans, are enforced in different ways as per the needs of the child, as well as the parenting abilities of both the parents. Also, while the courts do award shared custody in most cases, it may even sometimes decide to grant responsibility of the child solely to one of the parents. In such cases, the child will be allowed to visit the other parent as per the laws prevailing.
There are various factors the courts will consider when granting child custody to any of the parents. These factors are often in the best interest of the child and may include:
- The relationship of the child with each of the parents.
- The child's relationship with their siblings or other members of the household.
- The involvement of the child in the activities of their community.
- The primary caretaker of the child.
- The physical, emotional, and mental well-being of each parent.
- Each of the parents' abilities to care well for their child.
Washington Child Custody Laws
While it's essential to read and fully understand all the statutes about child custody in Washington, it can often be a tedious process, since they are written in legal language, which is outdated, and thus, can be challenging to understand. So, it becomes even more important to read the overview of the statute before reading the actual law. The Washington Child Custody Statute outlines the different parenting plans for the child, what each plan covers, and the legalities involved in the approval of each of the plans.
According to this statute, a typical parenting plan should cover:
- Where and with which parent the child will live.
- Decisions made by the parents regarding the child.
- Resolution of any future issues between the divorcing parents.
The statute also considers the various factors taken into account by the courts when approving a parenting plan. These factors are often in the child's best interests and may include:
- Maintaining stable relationships with the child.
- Providing the child with all necessities.
- Providing for the child's educational needs.
- Providing the child with financial support.
- Exercising good judgment regarding the child.
Putting the Parenting Plan into Action
In the case of Child Custody Laws in Washington, when a parenting plan is put into action, no parent may violate that plan. If a parent is found to violate any statute of the plan, the other parent may file a case against the violating parent. In that case, the violating parent may have to pay the attorney's costs, a fine, and in some cases, he or she may even be imprisoned. The other parent should continue providing for the child's needs while still enforcing the parenting plan.
So, when the court looks at the various factors for deciding upon a parenting plan for child custody, it will also look at the parents' work schedule, locations, lifestyle, stability at home, and other things like whether there are many cases or history of domestic violence. If the court is convinced that all these factors are in place, it will move forward with enforcing the parenting plan. But all cases of child custody in Washington are not the same and may vary depending upon the circumstances. So, it's always best to judge the case, depending on the situation.