When a couple with children decides to end their relationship, child custody and visitation become significant issues. In Washington State, the courts encourage parents to work together to create a parenting plan that outlines custody and visitation schedules. However, if parents cannot agree, the court will make the final decision based on the best interests of the child.
Types of Custody
Washington state recognizes both physical and legal custody. Legal custody is the authority to make major life choices for a child, such as those involving his or her health, education, and religion, while physical custody determines where the child resides. In most cases, parents are awarded joint legal custody, but physical custody may be awarded to one parent or shared between both parents,visit this page.
Factors Considered in Determining Custody
When determining custody, the court considers several factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s basic needs, the child’s emotional and developmental needs, and any history of domestic violence or abuse.
Visitation rights refer to the non-custodial parent’s right to spend time with their child. In Washington State, the court encourages parents to work together to create a visitation schedule that is in the best interests of the child. If parents cannot agree, the court will create a visitation schedule based on the best interests of the child.
Modification of Custody or Visitation
Custody and visitation orders can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances that affects the child’s best interests. This could include a change in one parent’s living situation, a change in the child’s needs, or a change in the parent’s ability to care for the child. To modify custody or visitation, the parent requesting the change must file a motion with the court and provide evidence of the changed circumstances.
Child custody and visitation are emotionally charged issues that require careful consideration and planning. If you are going through a divorce or separation and have questions about child custody or visitation, it is essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Washington State who can provide guidance and support throughout the process. Remember that the court considers several factors when determining custody and visitation, and orders can be modified if there has been a significant change in circumstances.