Child custody in Washington, has been replaced with the concept of a Parenting Plan. This change was made over 20 years ago by the legislature. The terms custody or joint custody are technically no longer used. If you are seeking joint custody, you really need to break it down to the terms of a Parenting Plan.

A Parenting Plan is a document that addresses the issues associated with making arrangements for children, traditionally referred to as custody and visitation issues. In Washington, a Parenting Plan specifically sets forth the respective rights and responsibilities of both parents regarding their children.

There are three (3) main issues addressed in a Parenting Plan, including the residential schedule of the children (when do they reside with the mother and when do they reside with the father), decision making (sole or joint) and dispute resolution.

While we don’t use the term joint custody, that concept can include joint decision making and some form of shared residential time. The legislature has made an equal shared residential time unfavorable unless agreed to by the parties, however, that has been loosened up by the legislature recently, to make that option more viable.

Custody issues come up in various types of legal actions, including Dissolution of Marriage (divorce), Legal Separation, Parentage (paternity), Third Party Custody (non-parental custody), and Modification of Custody.

Our lawyers represent parents and third parties in all custody related matters, including temporary orders, hearing for permanent custody, drafting parenting plans, and post decree modifications of custody. We can prepare for your mediation or settlement conference or represent you in negotiations or custody litigation.