Beginner's Guide: Filing Parenting Plan in Washington State
When divorcing with children in Washington state, parenting plans are vital. How do you go about filing a parenting plan in Washington state? What steps should you take? What are the essential things to know before you file? What should be included in your parenting plan? How can you and your former spouse come to an agreement outside of court?
Filing a parenting plan in Washington state can be a confusing time. But it doesn't have to be. When filing, there are clear-cut steps, meaning that much of the guesswork is taken out. Divorce is stressful enough without worrying about ensuring you haven't missed something.
So, in this blog post, you'll learn vital information about filing a parenting plan in Washington state and three things you should know before you file it.
This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice on parenting plans in Washington state, The Law Offices of Alesha Struthers offers free consultations.
3 things to Know Before Filing a Parenting Plan in Washington
In Washington state, parenting plans are mandatory. They help you and your former spouse make choices for your child and attempt to maintain normalcy for them. During a divorce with children , enough changes occur. Maintaining a " normal " level is always in the child's best interest. A parenting plan can be decided in one of two ways: mediation or the judge.
You should understand what a parenting plan is. A parenting plan is a legal document that determines physical custody, the primary residence for the child(ren), the visitation schedule, and even child support. All of these are factors that can impact your child's day-to-day life. In addition, you need to determine what will happen if and when there are disagreements between you and the other parent.. How will these problems be solved? encourage parents to have a plan to solve disputes so that the courts are not called upon to handle these matters.
Mediation when filing a parenting plan can be an excellent tool for parents, even if you live in a county where mediation isn't required. It allows you to come to an agreement between the two people who know the needs and wants of the child best. The State believes that a parenting plan that parents can come together on is more likely to work than one that a judge chooses for a family. You both are also more likely to get at least some of what you want by negotiating together during this time.
If you are unable to come to an agreement, the judge will determine the parenting plan . They have no concept of what is best for your child, only what the law dictates is in the child's best interest. And if you do end up in front of the judge, you and your former spouse may get a rude awakening because neither of you may get very little of what is actually wanted or needed. You'll both realize how much mediation could have given you.
Steps to Filing a Parenting Plan in Washington State
When there is a divorce with children in Washington state, the question of, “What next?” can result in a scary and confusing time. There are steps to help you to make it through. Contacting a family law attorney like Ms. Struthers can help make the journey easier. So can understanding the steps in filing a parenting plan .
Each Superior Court in Washington state provides the forms for filing a parenting plan. You do have the option to fill out the appropriate forms so that you can file the parenting plan in the county where you reside. Remember that each county has specific requirements, such as possibly requiring mediation, specific forms, and filing your proposed parenting plan with your divorce petition. What we linked to in this paragraph is merely an example.
You and your spouse may each file a proposed parenting plan . The judge will hear your case and may order mediation. Mediation can help you both decide the critical factors for your child, and you and your former spouse will also show the importance of co-parenting. Co-parenting classes in Washington state are required for divorce. You both will learn highly effective and vital co-parenting techniques. Taking only approved parenting classes in the county where your divorce is filed is important.
Unfortunately, sometimes even mediation can't help you reach an agreement. In this case, the judge makes the decision. The judge looks at Washington state child custody laws to determine what is in the child's best interest.
This can look like joint custody, or it may be that one parent maintains the status as the residential parent. In contrast, the other parent maintains adequate parenting time and the ability to make joint decisions. One parent is the residential parent, and the other receives some parenting time but does not receive the right to make specific decisions because that parent hasn't shown much interest in the child's day-to-day life. That is why mediation is essential when filing a parenting plan in Washington state.
Get Help with Filing a Parenting Plan in Washington State
The Law Offices of Alesha Struthers is ready to help you navigate the challenging time of divorcing with children and the need you have to file a parenting plan. We know how scary and unsettling the situation can be. Divorce and deciding what your new normal will look like, especially with children, can be overwhelming.
The Law Offices of Alesha Struthers want to take some of that off your plate and assist you in easing into your new life. We can help with drafting a parenting plan, filing a parenting plan in Washington state , locating co-parenting classes in Washington state, and the importance of mediation when deciding on a parenting plan. Ms. Struthers is a certified and experienced mediator as well as an experienced attorney. Contact the Law Offices Of Alesha Struthers today for a free initial consultation.
Disclaimer: This publication is not legal advice. It is intended as legal information only. For legal advice specific to your needs, contact the Law Offices of Alesha Struthers, PS at 800-972-0411.
Posted July 2022.