Daughter hugging her fatherCourts in the Washington State take into account several criteria when determining cases of child custody in a divorce. However, they mainly focus on ensuring that the result is in the child’s best interest; to ensure that the child would flourish despite the divorce.

What are the Child’s Best Interests?

When trying to determine what’s in the child’s best interest, courts would consider the following factors:

  • The wishes of each parent
  • The wishes of the child, provided that the child is 12 years old or older and could reasonably articulate what he or she wants
  • The physical and mental health of the parents
  • If the child could readily adjust to a new home, school, and community
  • The relationship of the child with each parent, siblings (if any), as well as close relatives
  • The relationship of the parents and if they’re capable of communicating and making decisions together regarding their child’s welfare
  • The proximity of each parent’s homes
  • The demands and schedule of each parent’s job

What About Joint Custody?

Courts would consider joint child custody as the best option for every child. They would likewise take into account the following factors to determine if joint custody is best:

  • If there’s history of family violence, neglect, abuse, or parental kidnapping
  • The parenting plan made by the parents
  • If the parents must and/or are willing to attend parenting classes
  • Which of the should decide on the main issues such as the child’s safety, health, spirituality, and general welfare

When evaluating a child custody case, courts could also require the parents to create a parenting plan that must be submitted to the judge presiding the case, adds a child custody lawyer from a prominent law firm in Kent. In general, the parenting plan should include information about the child’s living arrangements and education, visitation arrangements, religious training, as well as communication between both parents and child.

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Getting Legal Help

The laws and procedures for child custody cases in the Washington State could be confusing, especially if your spouse is contesting everything that you’re proposing. If you’re dealing with disputed child custody issues, you’ll need help from a child custody lawyer to ensure that you uphold your child’s best interests.