Child Custody Plans in a Seattle Divorce

Child custody issues for Seattle parents can be traumatic. For most parents, the scariest part of a divorce is the thought of losing contact with your children. It’s important to retain a lawyer practicing in Washington State who deeply understands this fear, and who will fight for the best possible result for you and your children.

Many parents come up with a custody plan and never give it another thought. Others follow their plan to the letter until the child goes to college. However, each divorced family should have some kind of child custody plan upon which they can rely if disagreements arise. This is why most states require some kind of plan to be entered with the court. That way, it becomes a court order that is enforceable by the court if and when things go awry between the parents.

You lawyer should counsel you to approach parenting plans carefully. If you and your ex disagree in the future, most courts will order you to follow the plan as written. In most states it is difficult to modify a parenting plan, and most require court approval, which is often extremely expensive. Your Seattle legal team should take the time necessary to explore all the possibilities and design the best plan for you and your children, minimizing the possibility of returning to court for an expensive, risky modification of your custody plan.

Washington State requires a custody plan with a very specific schedule setting out the school year plan, the summer and all holidays. Plans can be customized for every family. For example, a parenting plan for a nurse or a firefighter working different shifts would be different from a parenting plan for a teacher or a paralegal.

Child custody plans can be as complicated as people’s lives are complicated. There are many creative ways families design their plans to accommodate each parents’ strengths and weaknesses and address their children’s needs.

Keep in mind that you know what works best for your children and your own unique family situation. So, find a Seattle divorce lawyer who will help you craft and negotiate a completely customized plan that will work for your family as your children get older and their needs change.

Now, if child custody is contested, a parenting evaluator, case manager, or guardian ad litem is often appointed. This is typically a mental health professional or an experienced Seattle family law attorney who is given the task of making recommendations to the court about the best child custody plan for a family. The court relies heavily on these evaluation professionals, so it’s important for you and your Seattle divorce lawyer to choose one who will spend time with both parents and the children – someone who is qualified and who you believe will advocate for the best interest of the whole family.

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