Seattle Child Custody Lawyer
Fighting to Protect the Best Interests of Children in King County
In Washington, child custody is referred to as parenting plans. Parenting plans outline where children will live, which parent they will live with, and how parents will make decisions about the children’s life.
The parenting plan you create now will have a large impact on your child’s well-being as well as your relationship with your child. It is important that you approach your parenting plan with a knowledgeable Seattle child custody lawyer who can help you craft a thorough plan that is in your and your child’s interests. Talk to our trusted family law advocates at Wakefield Legal about your concerns today.
Why Choose Our Seattle Child Custody Attorneys?
- Compassionate, Aggressive & Discreet counsel
- Trial-tested experience in your corner
- Top recommendations from clients and peers
- Availability to provide legal support
Determining Your Parenting Plans
Courts often prefer that parents work together to create a parenting plan. When parents agree on parenting plans, it often leads to healthier relationships and makes it easier for children during a divorce. If parents agree on a parenting plan, a judge will approve it.
If there is a dispute regarding your parenting plan and you cannot come to an agreement, then the judge will be forced to decide for you. The judge will make his or her decision based on the best interests of the child.
Factors that affect how a court determines parenting plans:
- Relationship a child has with each parent
- Mental and physical capacity of each parent
- Ability of each parent to provide for the child’s basic needs
- Whether a parent will encourage stable and loving relationships for the child
What Makes a Parent Unfit in Washington State?
A parent is considered unfit when they are unable to provide their child with the guidance, care, and support expected of a guardian. This inadequacy could be proven by a history of:
- Abandonment of the child
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Domestic, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- Harm caused to the child
- Sex offender convictions
If a parent is found to be unfit, their ability to see their child could be limited. These measures may only be temporary if, through participation in a rehabilitation program or success in maintaining a job, a parent is able to prove that they have matured.
Are There Provisions For a Child WHo Refuses Visitation?
In Washington, there is no provision for a child who chooses not to visit their parent. In terms of custody and visitation, all parents must adhere to the court's order, known as a parenting plan. Parenting arrangements are in place before the child reaches the age of eighteen. If one of the parents fails to obey the plan's rules, the other parent can file a Motion for Contempt.
What Factors Does The Court Look at when awarding Custody?
The court works carefully to protect a child’s best interest when awarding custody. These decisions can be influenced by a number of factors, including:
- Each parent’s health
- Each parent’s job requirements
- Each parent’s role in the child’s life
- The child’s connection to their school and hometown
- The child’s needs
- The child’s relationship with each parent
In addition to these matters, both the parents and child’s wishes regarding the final custody decision could impact the final ruling. However, a child’s input will only be considered when they are thought to be able to make an intelligent judgment. While there is no specific age where a child is thought to be “mature enough” in the eyes of the law, children 12 and older are typically afforded the space to voice their preferences.
Still, while older children may make their voices heard, the court is not obligated to abide by their requests. Rather, preference is just another consideration used in tandem with the other factors listed above.
Contact Our Child Custody Attorneys today
At Wakefield Legal, our Seattle child custody lawyers are known for our fair and effective solutions. We can steer you and the other parent towards a sound plan that both of you can agree on and one that will be approved by a judge.
Contact Wakefield Legal today to speak with our Seattle child custody lawyer.