Your Seattle, WA
Child Custody Attorneys

We have achieved premier success in child custody cases. We excel at communication with all of our clients on a personal level. We’re known for our relentless pursuit of successful results. Let us protect what you value most.

click for a free consultation

Seattle Child Custody Lawyer

Seattle Child Custody Attorney

Child custody can be an emotionally charged issue in a divorce proceeding in Seattle, WA. Any time custody issues arise, the parties may find themselves fighting to protect their children and their rights. If you are in a custody battle, you need an experienced Seattle child custody lawyer from Twyford Law Office on your side. Contact us at (206) 590-7085 to learn how we can help you and your child by scheduling a free case review.

At Twyford Law Office, we have decades of combined experience representing people in child custody matters. We strive to provide exceptional legal services and personalized solutions for our clients.

How Twyford Law Office Can Help You With Your Child Custody Matter in Seattle

How Our Seattle Family Lawyers Can Help You With a Child Custody CaseOne of the most challenging issues in a divorce is determining who receives custody of the couple’s children. Generally, both parents want what is best for their children, but they may vehemently disagree on who should have custody. Sometimes, those disagreements can lead to heated disputes.

Our Seattle divorce lawyers are recognized locally and nationally for their knowledge and services. The National Association of Distinguished Counsel recognizes Attorney Julie A. Twyford as one of the Nation’s Top One Percent of Lawyers. She has built a team of legal professionals who are dedicated to helping clients achieve their goals. 

In addition to aggressively representing our clients in court, we are resourceful negotiators who use mediation to resolve cases whenever possible. We’re available to our clients 24/7 to provide the support and guidance they need as they fight to protect their rights. 

When you hire our top-rated child support and custody attorneys, you can trust that we will:

  • Intently listen as you explain your current circumstances 
  • Help you identify your priorities and develop a plan that achieves those goals
  • Thoroughly investigate allegations of parental unfitness, parental alienation, and other wrongdoing by the other parent
  • Work with leading expert witnesses as necessary 
  • Use mediation and negotiation to obtain a parenting plan that meets your goals
  • Prepare for trial and aggressively argue your position in court if necessary

Our attorneys believe your children’s welfare should be the priority. We will help you find a way to protect your children while retaining your ability to continue a close relationship with them.  Contact us to get started.

The Types of Child Custody Granted in Washington

When the courts decide on these matters, they must determine if one or both parents will have legal and physical custody of their children. It is essential to understand the difference between these two types of custody.

Legal Custody in Seattle, WA

The court may grant either parent legal custody, which is the right to make life decisions that impact the child. 

This form of custody gives a parent the right to decide:

  • The best way to meet the child’s educational needs (e.g., private school vs. public school)
  • Choices regarding the child’s healthcare and medical treatment 
  • The religious upbringing of the child, if any
  • The extracurricular activities and social events the child attends

Importantly, the parent with legal custody is not required to ask the other parent for input or consider their input. 

The law encourages parties to share legal custody whenever possible so that each parent participates in the child’s upbringing. However, if a parent is unfit, the judge may grant sole legal custody to the other parent.

Physical Custody in Seattle, WA

This concept refers to which parent the child lives with, either part-time or full-time. The specific details regarding how many overnights the child spends in a parent’s home can be addressed in the parenting plan. 

However, even with joint custody, the child typically lives primarily with one parent for stability and continuity. That parent is referred to as the custodial parent. A judge may grant sole custody of this type to one parent and limit visitation if the other parent is unfit.

Determining the Best Interests of a Child in a Custody Dispute in Seattle, WA

Determining the Best Interests of a Child in a Custody Dispute The courts encourage parents to co-parent effectively and develop a parenting plan, which provides the details of the arrangement. It is a legally enforceable agreement incorporated in the court’s final order.

However, if parents cannot agree on terms, the court must decide. Judges base their decisions on the best interests of the child.

This standard requires judges to consider factors hat maintain the child’s health, growth, care, and stability. Washington law directs that the relationship between a parent and child should be “fostered” unless it could be harmful to the child. The law promotes continuing a close parent-child bond for the child’s welfare.

Factors that may be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature, strength, and stability of a child’s relationship with each parent
  • Past performance of parenting functions and the potential for future performance 
  • The child’s emotional and developmental needs
  • Each parent’s employment schedule
  • The child’s relationships with other family members and siblings
  • How well the child has integrated into their community and school
  • The reasonable wishes of a child and parent for custody arrangements

In addition to the above, the court will consider evidence that a parent is unfit. Each circumstance is unique and decided individually. 

However, some of the things to be considered are:

  • Limitations a parent might have that could negatively impact the child
  • A history of domestic violence
  • A lack of emotional tie between the child and parent
  • Whether a parent has been convicted of a sex offense as an adult
  • Proof of child abuse
  • Substantial use of alcohol and drugs, which impairs the ability to care for a child
  • Evidence of a substantial failure of duties (e.g., neglect)
  • Instances of willful abandonment of a child
  • A parent attempting to alienate the child from the other parent or using conflict to damage a child’s psychological development

The overall priority is to select a legal and physical custody arrangement that allows the parents and child to maintain a loving, nurturing, and stable lifestyle while protecting the child from harm.

A judge may appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) as well. The person is an independent, impartial third party. The GAL files a report with recommendations for the parenting plan. The judge is not required to follow the recommendations as they are only one element to consider.

What is Parenting Plan?

In Washington, parents who share custody have to complete a parenting plan, which records how time-sharing and parental responsibility will work after parents finalize a divorce. Parents may propose it if they can voluntarily agree on major issues. Alternatively, the court will create a temporary or final order detailing the major terms of the plan. 

A parenting plan must express:

  • Which children are subject to the parenting plan;
  • Reasons for putting limitations on one parent (if any). 
  • Which parent(s) will have legal custody of the child(ren);
  • Which parent(s) will have physical custody of the child(ren)
  • A plan for decision-making regarding education, healthcare and other major life decisions for the child
    • A time-sharing schedule describing the time and days that each parent will have physical custody, including holiday schedules.

A parenting plan serves the best interests of the child affected. An experienced attorney can help you create a proposal or plan that works for you and your children.

How Can a Child Custody Lawyer in Seattle Help Me Create a Parenting Plan and Time-sharing Agreement?

Creating a plan that is agreeable to both parents can be difficult. An experienced attorney can help you advocate and negotiate the terms that are best for your child and most important to you. 

At Twyford Law Office, our lawyers will help you create an agreement that:

  • Minimally disrupts your child’s life 
  • Ensures that the child is able to spend time and benefit from a relationship with each parent (if such an arrangement is safe)
  • Minimizes conflict between parents
  • Is specially designed to accommodate the unique needs of your family

We’ll walk you through the entire parenting plan and time-sharing process, asking targeted questions to get to the heart of what’s best for you and your child. We’ll help you identify what’s important to you and advocate for your interests in the parenting plan. Contact our lawyers in Seattle to get started with your case today. 

What Is a Visitation Schedule in Seattle, WA?

What Is a Visitation Schedule in WashingtonTypically, a child primarily stays with one parent over the other. However, parenting plans are flexible and can be customized in numerous ways depending on a family’s situation and a child’s needs. 

A non-custodial parent must have at least one weeknight visit with their child and visitation every other weekend. However, the parents may agree to a different visitation schedule in the parenting plan. Additional visitation may be granted in some circumstances.

Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement in Washington?

Can I Modify My Child Custody Agreement in Washington?Children grow up, and life events change a parent’s circumstances. The law recognizes that parents may need to modify existing orders. However, there must be a substantial change in circumstances.

The parent requesting the change must file a Petition for Modification with the court requesting an adjustment to the current child custody decree and parenting plan. The petition must explain how the proposed changes are best for the child and how the changes constitute a “substantial change” in circumstances.

At the hearing, evidence is heard supporting the petition. The other parent may offer evidence disputing the change. From there, a decision will be made regarding whether there is adequate cause to change the arrangement.

Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With Our Seattle Child Custody Attorneys Today at (206) 590-7085.

To learn more about how to protect yourself and your children in a custody battle, Contact us today at (206) 590-7085 for a free meeting with an attorney. Our Seattle child custody attorneys will strive to reach an arrangement that works for you and your family, but we are ready to fight fiercely in court if necessary. 

Client Reviews

Client Review

Read more here.

Seattle Child Custody Resources

10.0 superb avvo rating logo - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
national association of distinguished counsel logo - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
spokane attorneys for equality logo - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
federal bar association logo - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
washington association of criminal defense lawyers logo in red - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
spokane county bar association logo - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
washington state bar association logo - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
Mark Cassel - Rising Stars Barge - Superlawyers - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
Three Best Rated - Spokane - Twyford Law Office Family And Divorce Lawyers in Washington
Call Now Button