The best interests of the child are served by a parenting arrangement that best maintains a child's emotional growth, health and stability, and physical care. Further, the best interest of the child is ordinarily served when the existing pattern of interaction between a parent and child is altered only to the extent necessitated by the changed relationship of the parents or as required to protect the child from physical, mental, or emotional harm. If the parents cannot reach an agreement concerning the custody and parenting provisions for children of the marriage, then the court may establish either sole or mutual decision making authority and residential provisions considering the following factors:
- The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child's relationship with each parent, including whether a parent has taken greater responsibility for performing parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the child (this factor shall be given the most weight).
- The agreements of the parties, provided they were entered into knowingly and voluntarily.
- Each parent's past and potential for future performance of parenting functions.
- The emotional needs and developmental level of the child.
- The child's relationship with siblings and with other significant adults, as well as the child's involvement with his or her physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities.
- The wishes of the parents and the wishes of a child who is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to his or her residential schedule.
- Each parent's employment schedule, and shall make accommodations consistent with those schedules.
The court may order that a child frequently alternate his or her residence between the households of the parents for brief and substantially equal intervals of time only if the court finds the following:
- There is no evidence of willful abandonment that continues for an extended period of time or substantial refusal to perform parenting functions; physical, sexual, or a pattern of emotional abuse of a child; or a history of acts of domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010.
- The parties have agreed to such provisions and the agreement was knowingly and voluntarily entered into; or have a satisfactory history of cooperation and shared performance of parenting functions; the parties are available to each other, especially in geographic proximity, to the extent necessary to ensure their ability to share performance of the parenting functions.
- The provisions are in the best interests of the child.
[Based on Washington State Revised Code - Title 26 - Chapters 26.09.002, 26.09.187, and 26.09.191]
|How Can I Get Washington Child Custody Help?|
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|Phone Coaching with Child Custody Coach®|
The phone coaching sessions are designed so you can have a fast, efficient, and economical way of scheduling a coaching session to discuss your child custody, child custody evaluation, and/or divorce related matter via telephone in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Phone coaching is flexible and allows you the opportunity to request an appointment before work, after work, or on a weekend or at any time that is convenient for you. The phone coaching session can often be scheduled and take place the same day payment is made and forms are received for those seeking immediate coaching. For full details about fees and how to get started click here.
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Monthly coaching is designed to provide ongoing coaching and support throughout the month and provides for an economical way of receiving such support on matters such as divorce, child custody, move-aways, post-judgment modifications, child custody evaluations, etc. Fees are known up front so there are no surprises. This also allows you to choose the plan that is right for you and also works within your budget. Weekly coaching sessions and email communications allow you to discuss your child custody matters, developments, and results regularly throughout the month. For full details on fees and how to get started click here.