Parenting Plans

Building a comprehensive plan for your child

Your child deserves a well-thought-out parenting plan to address their current and future needs, which may extend through adulthood. The plan addresses your child’s residential schedule (time spent with each parent), who will make major decisions, and how disputes will be resolved. Our family law attorneys will work with you to make sure the plan presented is comprehensive and meaningful.


Co-parents can negotiate the terms of a parenting plan without going through mediation or the court system. Still, it is always recommended you have an experienced family law attorney review your documents before finalizing them. Our attorneys understand where conflict may arise and can help to prevent problems before they appear.


Creating a Parenting Plan

When creating a parenting plan, Washington State courts take the following seven factors into consideration:

  1. The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent
  2. The agreements of the parties provided they were entered into knowingly and voluntarily
  3. Each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting functions, including whether a parent has taken greater responsibility for performing parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the child
  4. The emotional needs and developmental level of the child
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Each parent’s employment schedule and accommodations consistent with those schedules

You will want to consider many circumstances: living arrangements, vacations, school, summer break arrangements, summer camp, learning to drive, piercings, tattoos, extracurricular activities, military service before the age of 18, and virtually any other major decision that may come up between now and adulthood. As different as each family is, as diverse as every family’s traditions are, each parenting plan is equally unique. 


When Do You Create a Parenting Plan?

It is common to create a parenting plan when divorcing, but it is best to have a formal parenting plan in place anytime two people are co-parenting a child in separate homes. A good plan can serve as a roadmap for the family. Both parents have an understanding of how decisions will be made and can avoid unnecessary conflict. 


Modifying a Parenting Plan


Modifications can be costly, particularly if they require going to court. We can work with you to help you understand your best course of action. A skilled attorney from our firm can help mitigate conflict while advising you of your rights and any potential risks associated with filing a modification.


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