Getting a divorce when you have children is no easy task. In addition to the division of property and marital debts, divorcing couples with kids also have to determine who will have custody of the children. In Washington, child custody arrangements are referred to as a parenting plan. Ideally, parents going through a divorce will work out the details of their own parenting plan. According to Washington Rev. Code Sec. 26.09.181, the plan must specify where the children will primarily stay, how decisions will be made with regards to the child, and how to deal with future issues relating to the children.
The parenting plan should be focused on the best interests of the child or children in question. All children have basic needs, such as shelter, food, and clothing, but they need much more than that to succeed in life. Children require a healthy, stable environment and proper financial and educational support from their parents.
Many parents nowadays go with a plan in which both parents play an equal role in the raising of the child. The child may spend an equal amount of time with both parents, and both parents may work together to make decisions relating to the child's schooling, health, religious upbringing, and extra-curricular activities.
If parents come up with a parenting plan, a judge will need to approve it before it becomes an order. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then their case will be heard in front of a judge who will ultimately create a plan for them. A divorce attorney can help you with the details of your custody arrangement and ensure that your children are well cared for during and after the divorce.