Child Custody and Visitation.
If you and your spouse have any minor children together, child custody is going to be an issue, and in all likelihood, a Parenting Plan will be entered in your divorce case.
What Is a Parenting Plan?
A Parenting Plan is a court order which specifies when the minor children will spend time with each parent (child custody and visitation privileges). This is why you need a team of devoted Child Custody Attorneys working in your behalf.
In the Parenting Plan, one parent will be designated the “primary residential parent” and the other parent will be designated the “visiting” parent. The primary residential parent is the parent with whom the minor children will reside a majority of the time – in other words, they will have primary child custody. The Parenting Pan will specify when the minor children will spend time with the visiting parent. Those specifications will address weekly visitations, holiday visitations, visitations during the children’s and the parent’s birthdays and other special occasions, school break visitations, Summer visitations, etc.
Unless there are reasons not to do so, typically the Parenting Plan will specify that both parents will have “joint decision making” with respect to which schools the children will attend, which kind of religious upbringing the children will have, and what kinds of non-emergency medical or dental procedures may be undertaken for the children (e.g., elective orthodontia). In Washington State, grandparents have no legal rights to visitation.
What Is Relocation?
A thorny issue can arise after the divorce is finalized – i.e., after the Final Parenting Plan has been entered: relocation. Relocation is where the primary residential parent wants to move away with the minor children. Since doing so can tremendously undermine the visiting parent’s opportunities to spend time with the children, the primary residential parent must apply for a court order authorizing any such move. The court will address certain statutorily designated factors in determining whether to authorize the primary residential parent to move away with the minor children.
As your child custody attorneys, we can advise you on these weighty matters. Nothing is more important in a divorce than the children, and everything a divorce attorney does should ensure the children are well taken care of.
Our Washington Child Custody Attorneys Can Help
Divorce or separation is difficult for children. They should not also have to endure child custody disputes between their parents. It is critical that the divorce and/or separation process and the ensuing settlement be centered upon maintaining continuity, security and love for your children. The best outcomes should ensure the best interests of the children as their centerpiece, and child custody and parenting plans that work well for everyone in the family result in great outcomes for children going forward. Ensuring continued and healthy relationships among parents and their children following a divorce or separation is one of the hallmarks for our divorce and family lawyers here at Clearwater Law Group. We will compassionately support you while ensuring that your parental rights are protected and respected.