How Is Child Custody Determined in Washington?
In Washington, child custody can be awarded in several ways, depending on each parent’s parenting abilities and the unique needs of the child. The judge may look at several factors when determining child custody, such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the physical and mental health of each parent, each parent’s living situation and whether there is a history of domestic violence or abuse. For example, if one parent has a history of mental health problems, the judge may likely award primary custody to the other parent.
Does the Mother Automatically Get Custody?
No. While this might have been true decades ago, it is not the case today. Gender is not a factor considered in child custody cases. The judge will consider the best interests of the child when determining custody. If the father is a better fit, the judge will award custody to him.
How Does Legal Custody Differ from Physical Custody?
Legal custody allows parents to make legal decisions for their children while physical custody is where children reside. It is possible for a parent to have legal custody and not physical custody.
Do You Have to Go to Court for a Child Custody Arrangement?
No. If you are able to come to a child custody agreement with the other parent, you don’t have to go in front of a judge. Doing this can save the both of you a lot of money and stress. However, the court will have to approve the child custody agreement you and the other parent comes up with. That is why it may be helpful to work with an experienced child custody attorney. He or she will make sure that the agreement is valid and clearly outlines parenting time schedules.
If I Get Full Custody of My Child, Do I Still Have to Let the Other Parent See My Child?
Yes. Just because you have primary custody of your child, does not mean that you can forbid the other parent from seeing your child. Whether the judge decides that the other parent gets to see your child a couple of days a week or every other weekend, you have to honor it.
Can Anyone Other Than a Parent Receive Custody of a Child?
Yes, it’s possible. Sometimes, people other than the child’s parents may wish to obtain custody, such as grandparents, uncles and aunts. If both parents are deemed as unfit to care for a child, the judge may consider awarding custody to another relative.
Are the Child’s Wishes Taken Into Account?
Yes, judges may consider the wishes of older children in child custody cases. The child may have an opportunity to express who he or she wants to live with. Provided that the child gives a good argument, the judge may consider it in his or her decision.
If you need assistance with your child custody case, you should get in touch with a skilled child custody attorney today.