Caring Vancouver, Washington Child Custody Lawyers
Divorce and separation affects the entire family, but children are impacted the most. They don’t quite understand everything that’s happening or why their parents are splitting up, and too often they blame themselves. While a lawyer isn’t going to alleviate your children’s worries, it is their responsibility to help you work toward a positive outcome through properly drafted parenting plans and visitation schedules. Our child custody attorneys have experience handling many cases as delicate as yours.
At Affordable Family Law Center, we will do what we can to work toward a solution with you so you can focus on the needs of your children during this emotional time.
Washington State Child Custody Laws
Dissolving a marriage becomes exponentially more complicated when children are involved. Fortunately, the laws are written with the best interests of the children in mind, and the lawyers at Affordable Family Law Center strongly abide by the principle that children come first.
Child custody in Washington state is known as a “parenting plan,” which is a legally-binding document that will outline:
- Which parent the children will live with and where
- The amount of time the children will spend with each parent
- How each parent will contribute to major decisions regarding the children’s health, education and well-being
- How the parents will resolve disputes or disagreements in the future
Parents have the duty to actively seek out a visitation schedule that is in the best interest of the child. If parents can’t do this on their own, a judge will intervene to seek out what they perceive to be best for the child. For that reason, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who not only knows what the laws and local customs for visitation is in a jurisdiction, but also one who has familiarity with the value system of a judge and how they will perceive a situation.
Having a parenting plan that is recognized by the court, is the only way that the courts can enforce a visitation and parental decision agreement between the parties involved. If you don’t already have a parenting plan, you are potentially leaving not only yourself, but also your children vulnerable to unforeseen changes in the future. CONTACT US today to create a custom parenting plan that is unique to the needs of your children.
Sometimes life happens. Maybe one parent loses a job and can only find work in another location, outside of the family’s established community. Or maybe one parent has an opportunity that will be beneficial to not only his or her future, but to the futures of the children as well. Visitation schedules are not designed to create a sort of “ball and chain” to keep a parent local; rather, they’re intended to help the child develop a relationship with both parents. In the case where it would be beneficial for a parent to relocate to another area, challenges and conflict can arise when a new parenting plan will have to be drawn up to make visitation practical.
The lawyers of Affordable Family Law Center are highly experienced in navigating relocations and the criteria associated with them. Call us today and we’ll discuss your unique situation in a free, over-the-phone consultation.
Opposing a Relocation
Receiving notice that the custodial parent of your child is planning to move him or her out of state can be shocking. Perhaps you don’t want them to move. If you have been given notice by your spouse or former partner that he or she is planning to relocate your child, you have 30 days from the time you received the notice to file an objection with the courts. Writing a letter to the judge isn’t sufficient – you must submit either an Objection to Relocation/Petition for Modification of Custody Decree form, and be ready to seek custody of the child if the courts decide that will be in the child’s best interest.
Third Party Child Custody
When a court awards custody of a child to one parent or another, the general guiding policy that determines this decision is based on who to court sees as truly having the best interest of the child, coupled with also being the child’s parent. However, there are times when neither parent can properly execute their parental duties due to drug use, alcohol abuse, jail confinement, child-abuse, familiar to protect a child from abuse, domestic violence, and other threatening circumstances to the welfare of the child. It might even be the case that one parent has died and the surviving parent is ill-equipped to give the child their best chance. Or it might be a situation when a third party has been the primary parent through performance for a long period of time. Overall, third-party custody has the element of both parents of a child are determined to be unfit.
The needs of the child are at the forefront of the Affordable Family Law Center. When it is the case that a third party has an interest or stake in the matter in the protection and health of a child, whom they want to assume the responsibilities of a parent it is possible under a certain criteria. Affordable Family Law Center handles many third party custodies for grandparents, stepparents, family friends, and other close relatives. Because we seek to help find resolutions that are for the benefit of the child as well, we are quite willing to help negotiate with parties to seek the best interest for the child.
General Tip: If you have been assisting the parent (s) of a child that you have come to care for, and continue to provide care for that child, document everything that you do along with a calendar to show the frequency of your participation or involvement in that child’s life.
Doing What’s Right for You and Your Children
When emotions are running high between parents, having an attorney that can objectively assess the needs of you and your children will be one of the most valuable investments you can make in securing your future. The caring lawyers of Affordable Family Law Center are trained to move past the emotional roadblocks and help you establish a custody and visitation arrangement that is practical and keeps the well-being of your children in mind.
For years we have helped parents in and out of the courtroom reach a common ground. Our dedicated attorneys will do what it takes to ensure your children’s ultimate needs are met, because in the end what’s best for your children is best for everyone.