Couples who are planning to separate and divorce can often come together, peacefully and without court involvement, to develop a parenting plan for their children. This plan can help both parents negotiate what is important to them and then ultimately serve as a living document. When both spouses work out a plan together, often a hearing or trial is not needed. A parenting plan can outline pick-ups and drop-offs, visits with grandparents and other relatives, and how holidays will be divided.
If domestic violence claims are an ingredient in your separation, advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney can work with your family law attorney to help you maintain your parental rights as you negotiate your parenting plan. If you have been accused by your spouse of domestic violence, you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney to assure you get fair representation and that your rights are protected in this process.
When both sides come together and discuss a fair way for each to spend quality time with the children, the result is a win-win for children and parents. These are some factors each should consider for current situations, and for the coming months while working on their plan.
- Work schedules
- Children's school locations
- Children's activities
- Seasonal changes
As discussions around these factors begin, often what might make sense for parents' convenience may not always be what's best for the children. For example, if a parent commutes a long distance, it may make better sense for the children to be with the parent who works closer to home more during the work week.
Physical and Legal Custody?
In Washington, if one parent will have the children most of the time because of schools and scheduling, that may be the parent who gets physical custody. The parent who does not have physical custody will outline plans for visiting the children, having the children visit them, or have parenting time for longer periods at their home.
Legal custody in Washington means a parent has the legal right to decide the specifics about the children's education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. When parents choose to make the decisions jointly, they can share legal custody even when only one parent has physical custody.
Help with Parenting Plans
A guide is available to help parents work out a parenting plan. This guide prompts parents to consider a vast array of questions about parenting and offers guidance. When parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, it is likely a judge will need to help resolve the dispute. A hearing or trial may be necessary so the judge hears arguments from both sides and decides on behalf of the children.
If you are trying to prepare a parenting plan and are having difficulty agreeing with your spouse, an attorney can help advise you so that you and your children will have the best advantage for a resolution. Call the Steve Karimi law office today to learn more.
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