Temporary Custody Hearing in Washington State: What to Know
Divorcing with children can be a rough time, accentuated by uncertainty and questions about what rights you may have before a temporary custody order is in place. This question has an easy answer if you, as a parent, haven't lost any of your parenting rights to the State. When you file for divorce, even before a temporary custody hearing, you also file a parenting plan. This plan will include the proposed custody arrangement, how to settle disagreements, and even address child support.
The proposed parenting plan, which can be created with the help of a family law attorney when they draft your divorce petition, will explain the plan for your family. It is a fantastic tool for helping parents navigate the new reality that they are facing. It provides clear guidelines on how parenting time for each parent is handled.
Keep reading to learn more about temporary parenting plans in Washington state and how they help parents understand their rights before the temporary custody hearing.
This article is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice. If you need legal advice on temporary parenting plans in Washington state or temporary custody hearings, The Law Offices of Alesha Struthers offers free consultations.
What's a Temporary Parenting Plan? How Does It Help You?
Washington state requires that a proposed temporary parenting plan be included with the filing of the divorce petition. This helps you and your spouse understand where you both stand and how things will work until your first appearance. The temporary parenting plan will dictate who the child will reside with, parenting time, and child support.
Child support in Washington state is vital in helping to ensure your child's financial security. They are being affected by the divorce process just as well as you are. Yet, they remain in the same home, participate in the same activities, and hopefully keep the same routine. Child support is not a punishment. It is used to help support your child and keep their standard of living at the expected level that they are used to having. Keeping their day-to-day as similar as possible is crucial to helping them with their lives changing.
As mentioned, temporary parenting plans in Washington state also address parenting time. They propose a schedule for the child and the parents. You will know how parenting time and visitation will be split up and with whom the child will live. Parenting plans cover parents' common questions when they decide to go their separate ways. It allows everyone to plan and make the most of their time with the child. It also gives a concrete schedule for your family to follow, allowing you to adjust to following court orders regarding your child. But that isn't all they do.
How Will You Handle Conflict?
What do you do if there is a disagreement? The will also detail how to handle disagreements that may arise where your child is involved. Even with a parenting plan, both parents have equal rights and decision-making regarding their child unless decided otherwise by the court during a temporary or permanent custody hearing. However, the temporary parenting plan will help to understand how and who will make the ultimate choice if a conflict arises until a permanent plan is in place.
The Temporary Custody Hearing
During the temporary custody hearing, the judge will determine if your temporary plan is acceptable and in the child's best interest or if adjustments are needed.
Mediation Before Your Final Hearing
Before the parenting plan final order, you will most likely attend mediation. Mediation allows you, as the parents, to decide what is best for your child. This is ideal, as being able to agree in the best interest of your child will make following the parenting plan easier. At this point, you will follow the order that is decided until your final hearing date, at which point the final parenting plan will be issued.
Free Consult: Temporary Custody Hearings & Parenting Plans
If you have questions about your rights as a parent before a temporary custody hearing in Washington state, contacting an experienced family law attorney can help. Alesha Struthers is an experienced family lawyer and certified mediator. Contact her law office to schedule your free consultation. She is ready and willing to help you prepare your divorce petition and parenting plan and answer any questions you may have.
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 August 2022.