Your children are everything to you. We know this. We are prepared to fight for your custody goals so that you can continue to be the mom or dad you want to be.
We have written hundreds of supporting declarations with our clients. Here in Washington state, the judge reads what we write before they hear anything verbally. You need attorneys who have both excellent written and oral advocacy skills. We work with you every step of the way writing those declarations to make sure you get the custody you want and deserve.
Determining Child Custody
Determining child custody in Gig Harbor, Washington, is an important part of every divorce that affects minor or otherwise dependent children. While nobody enjoys going through a divorce (and there are many painful parts of a divorce to go over with your lawyer), it’s important to always remember the wellbeing of your child (or children). A divorce may mean hard feelings between you and your spouse, but it doesn’t have to mean your children will suffer too. Instead, dealing with a divorce when you have children becomes a complicated and delicate balance of ensuring your kids are raised right, while also taking steps to ensure you don’t miss seeing them grow up.
Child custody is the best indicator of how much time you’ll be able to spend with your kids. Custody is awarded to whichever parent the court decides can provide the best upbringing, and having custody means having more responsibilities: The parent with custody is tasked with raising their child, from taking the to school and doctor’s appointments, to ensuring they stay out of trouble and are fed, clothed, and sheltered.
The parent with sole custody is tasked with making sure their child or children grow up right, and that means the parent with sole custody spends more time with their kids. The other parent will have visitation rights, and can see their kids when the court allows it. This means potentially missing out on major events in the lives of their kids, and living apart from those lives they treasure the most.
Sometimes, despite going through a divorce, both parents can put their differences aside to focus on the wellbeing of their children. If the parents can cooperate and provide the best upbringing possible, the court can award joint custody. Joint custody is when a child spends an even amount of time between both parents, but it comes with certain responsibilities for both parents as well. Child custody in Gig Harbor, WA, can be a complicated matter to cover in court, and joint custody even more so.
In order for a court to award joint custody to both parents, there are a few key requirements that must be met. Most notably, it should be clear that both parents are committed to raising their children, and it should be clear that both parents can cooperate and agree on how best to raise their kids. In joint custody, the parents work together, even though they’re divorced. This means they take equal responsibility in the upbringing: They must live in close proximity to one another, and it should be provable that they both participated equally in the child’s development before the divorce.
Seeking Guidance for Custody Determinations
Joint custody is possible, but it’s not an easy road. A divorce can result in a dissolved marriage, but it shouldn’t have to result in a broken home. With the help of a qualified family lawyer, you can ensure you get to spend a satisfactory amount of time with your children, and never miss out on watching them grow up. At Robinson & Hadeed, we know how important your kids are, and we’re committed to helping you reach agreeable terms in your divorce. Determining child custody in Gig Harbor, WA, is an important step in any divorce – and we’re here to help.
Creating a Workable Parenting Plan
When a child’s parents are granted joint custody, it is important that those parents draw up a set of expectations related to their co-parenting arrangement. Most of the time, courts require that Gig Harbor, WA child custody matters (in which parents share custody) be “governed” by a legally enforceable parenting plan. A parenting plan (sometimes referred to as a “parenting agreement” details the ways in which joint custody arrangements will be executed. Virtually any issue that affects co-parents and their children can be included in a legally enforceable parenting plan. Some of the most common parenting plan provisions include: pick-up and drop-off protocols, dates that the child will be with one parent vs. the other, expectations concerning schooling, religious education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities, communication protocols for the co-parenting relationship, and communication protocols for the child and the parent that they are not residing with at any given time.
Parenting Plan Considerations for Co-Parents
It is critically important that parenting plans are drawn up in ways that are manageable for all involved and that reflect the best interests of the child or children in question. Our firm’s Gig Harbor, WA child custody attorneys have extensive experience assisting parents in creating workable, focused, and enforceable parenting plans.
When constructing a parenting plan, you’ll want to tread carefully. This is a legally enforceable document, so you won’t want to be too vague or you won’t be able to benefit from solid expectations. Kids require structure and benefit from the security that accompanies knowing “what is going to happen next,” so outlining your expectations in detail is important. On the other hand, you don’t want to become so bogged down by nuance that you leave no room for flexibility. Life happens… so many parenting agreement provisions require some “wiggle room” in order to serve any practical purpose.
It is important to note that while courts allow parenting agreements to be modified as a family’s circumstances change or as a child’s best interests evolve, you don’t want to be running back to court every few months. In fact, the court will frown upon modification requests unless significant changes have occurred in your family’s circumstances since the original child custody order was put into place. Therefore, you want to be forward-thinking with your parenting agreement and to leave “room” for your child’s needs to evolve somewhat before you would need to go back to court to get your existing order modified formally.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have child custody concerns of any kind, please connect with the experienced Washington family lawyers at Robinson & Hadeed today. Our team can help you to determine which kinds of custody options may be in your child’s best interests. We can also provide you with any and all legal support you may require as you move forward with your child custody case, whether that case is amicable or contentious. In the event that you and your child’s other parent either choose to co-parent or are compelled to co-parent due to the decision of the court, we can assist you with constructing a workable parenting plan that serves your family’s needs and your child’s best interests. We understand that nothing matters more to you than your child’s wellbeing. Please allow us to advocate on behalf of you and your child during this particularly challenging time – doing so would be our honor. We look forward to speaking with you.