In Spokane and throughout Washington, a couple that is embroiled in a divorce or had a relationship that resulted in a child will have a great deal to consider. One particular issue that frequently arises has to do with crafting visitation plans that will provide an adequate amount of parenting time to both parents and it will be satisfactory for everyone involved. Knowing the law and how the state deals with parenting plans is important in achieving one's goals.
In a parenting plan the child's care, living arrangements, how decisions will be made and the settling of disputes are all laid out to avoid rancor and disagreement. The state doesn't use the words "child custody" when it comes to children. Both parents are expected to take some semblance of responsibility for the child's care. Often one parent will have the child living with the person the bulk of the time with the other parent also spending time with the child. The amount of time the child spends with either parent is contingent on the situation. The law tries to have both parents take part in the child's life.
Parenting time is a method to make certain both parents have the opportunity to be with the child. Courts will try to have both parents accept the agreement. In a best case scenario, the parents will come to a consensus on where the child will live. If the parents are not able to come to an agreement, the court will intervene and decide. The best interests of the child are always paramount. Mitigating factors can come into play like the employment situation of the parents and whether the child will have supervision at various times.
A disagreement regarding visitation plans can be resolved via mediation, arbitration, counseling or court decision. This too depends on the situation. Parents who are subject to a court order and don't adhere to it will be confronted with the likelihood of being held in contempt of court with the possibility of jail, fines, lost parenting time and other punishments. It behooves everyone to do what is best for the child regardless of personal feelings. When there is a divorce or battle over parenting time, having legal assistance can mean the difference between a positive outcome and long-term disputes that can negatively affect everyone.
Source: Washington Courts, "Family Law Handbook - Chapter 7 - Shared Parenting For Divorcing Parents-Parenting Plans, page 13," accessed on Mar. 3, 2015