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Parents making child custody decisions during a divorce in Spokane and other Washington communities may be interested in the most recent report of the Washington State Center for Court Research (WSCCR) concerning the way Parenting Plans allocate time between parents. A Parenting Plan is a court order that determines which parent a child will live with, how much time the child will spend with the other parent, whether one or both parents will make significant decisions about the child’s life, and how disputes about those decisions will be resolved.
With the help of their Washington family law attorneys, most parents who need a Parenting Plan come to an agreement about its terms. The court will typically approve any reasonable Parenting Plan that the parents propose. When parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will make an order that it deems to be in the child’s best interests. It makes that decision after considering evidence presented by the lawyers for each parent (and, in some cases, by a court-appointed lawyer for the child).
The standard parenting plan form includes a “residential schedule” that specifies where the children will live on each day of the year, including birthdays, holidays, and vacations. A Washington law requires “parties to dissolution matters” to file a “residential time summary report” with the clerk of court. “Dissolution matters” are court proceedings to end a marriage or a domestic partnership. The residential time summary report summarizes the contents of the residential schedule, including the amount of time the child will spend with each parent.
The WSCCR’s most recent analysis of residential time summary reports included the following findings:
Perhaps the most telling statistic is the last one. When a dispute exists about how much time a child should spend with each parent, representation by a Washington family law attorney makes a difference.
The materials available on this website are for informational purposes only and are not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. This article does not create any attorney-client relationship.