How is Child Custody Decided?
Increasingly, whether parents are married or not, the courts recognize the importance of keeping both parents in a child’s life. It’s rare to award one parent total control. That usually only occurs in cases of abuse or neglect, where health and safety are in jeopardy.
In Washington, the parenting plan usually lays out one parent as the “primary residential parent,” while the other gets “residential time.” The parenting plan also establishes:
- the decision-making rights and
- responsibilities for the child’s upbringing. This includes choices about:
- medical care, and more.
When creating the parenting plan, many factors come into play. This includes
- the child’s relationship with each parent,
- parenting ability,
- the child’s connection to siblings,
- physical environment, and more.
In the end, the child’s ultimate well-being takes precedence over most other concerns.
What is a parenting plan?
The court document that addresses custody matters is called a parenting plan. These orders define everything involving custody and visitation rights.
Parenting Plans establish:
- where a child lives,
- which parent holds the decision-making authority,
- how much time you spend together,
- who controls choices about education, religion, medical care, and more.
Because it lays out how much you see them and how present you are in your children’s lives, parenting plans are hugely important. It’s vital to protect your rights as a father and ensure you continue to have a major role in your child’s upbringing.
In Washington, the parenting plan usually lays out one parent as the “primary residential parent,” while the other gets “residential time.” When creating the parenting plan, many factors come into play.
This includes the child’s relationship with each parent, parenting ability, the child’s connection to siblings, location, physical environment, and more. In the end, the child’s ultimate well-being takes precedence over most other concerns.
Paternity for the unmarried father can only be proven through DNA testing or demonstrated through the existence of a Paternity Affidavit (once called a 'paternity finding'). Once paternity is established, everything progresses the same as married fathers.
Types of Child Custody
Some things you don’t want to leave to chance. It’s important to find the best child custody lawyer for your case.
“Best” is a relative term, and it varies from one case to the next. No two situations are identical, so the key is to find the best fit for your particular needs. There are many excellent family law practitioners in Seattle, but finding the right match provides a huge benefit to your case.
Amanda N. Gamble - Goldberg Jones Family Law Attorney
Hiring the best child custody attorney for your needs is an important decision. There’s no single method to find the perfect fit, and you have many factors to consider.
Finding an attorney to represent your rights and interests as a father is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It can have a major impact on your life. Our managing attorney helps pair you with the best child custody attorney for your case.