In a Washington, the court order regarding where a child should live is called a Parenting Plan. There is a blank mandatory Parenting Plan form for your review under my Resources tab. A parenting plan has three main parts: (1) Residential Schedule , (2) Decision-making and (3) Dispute Resolution. The residential schedule covers regular school days, holidays, special occasions, school breaks, i.e., the rules of where you child should reside every day of the year. The decision-making aspect of the parenting plan tells parents who gets to make what decision. The dispute resolution section set forth the rules on how to resolve major disagreements. For example, if the parenting plan has joint decision-making for educational decisions, the parents must communicate with each other and make a joint decision on the issue. If they cannot agree on the educational decision (such as choice of school), then they need to follow the Dispute Resolution section of the parenting plan.

Every divorce with minor children needs to have a final parenting plan entered. Often, people will need to have a Temporary Parenting Plan entered and this can be done by agreement or through filing a motion heard by a Family Law Commissioner. If there are special issues that need to be investigated or the parties have polar opposite positions on the parenting plan, a Guardian Ad Litem or Parenting Evaluator could be appointed via agreement of the parties or court order to investigate the situation and write a report with recommendations on what should be in the parenting plan.

I became a family law attorney because I enjoy working with clients to create parenting plan solutions. My practice emphasizes helping clients in high conflict parenting situations because those parents especially need to be aware of certain issues. Through effective attorney-client communication and counseling, I help clients find the balance between looking back and focusing on the future for you and your children.