When parents of minor children get divorced, a formal child custody arrangement should be documented with the court. Even when the split is amicable, a divorce law firm represents only one of the spouses to prevent any conflicts of interest. The other spouse should have another attorney for representation. Legal child custody in Washington State can be set up in a few different ways. In this state, custody is legally referred to as a parenting plan.
Joint Physical Parenting
Parents increasingly choose some form of joint physical parenting in which they spend a relatively equal amount of time with the children. A divorce law firm can help set up this arrangement in ways that are most convenient for the adults and the youngsters. These agreements generally work best when the parents live within easy driving distance of each other, and even better if they both live within the same school district.
The schedule might be set up so the children live with one parent four days per week and with the other parent Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If both parents would like to have every other weekend with the kids, this schedule might simply be reversed every other week. Holidays, school vacations and other special events would be ideally documented in the schedule ahead of time so there is no argument as those times approach.
Another Common Option
If joint physical parenting isn’t feasible, the other common choice is for the children to live full-time with one parent, but for the other parent to have liberal visitation time. This is advisable when the parents live somewhat far apart or when it would be disruptive to the children for them to keep switching back and forth between residences. Both parents are expected to make important decisions about the youngsters together.
True sole custody is usually not granted to one parent unless the other individual is viewed as unfit for some reason. A lawyer such as Scott Candoo can help convince a judge this arrangement is beneficial for the children if the other parent has been abusive, has a chemical addiction or shows other evidence of not being fit.