When parents split, the focus should shift to the children. Courts around Washington subscribe to the ‘best interest of the children’ standard when forced to decide cases. 

Parents who put differences aside to build a parenting plan and agreement may stay out of court. Our team of professionals eagerly pass on their insight that may prove beneficial to parents. Explore some essential elements Washington laws dictate a parenting plan contain. 

Agreement on care 

When the court reviews the permanent parenting plan, it looks for specific items. First, it wants parents to agree on primary care for the children. The provisions of this section may set out how the parents agree to support the children emotionally and physically; how they plan to encourage positive interaction with the other parent, step-siblings, etc.; and how they intend to use reasonable judgment to choose educational avenues. 

Residential schedule 

The parenting plan must set out the schedule for when the children reside with each parent. The schedule should set out a clear plan for where and when the parents exchange custody. Typically, if children attend school, that becomes the spot. The plan needs to include holidays and other special occasions when the schedule may deviate. 

Dispute resolution 

Another element the court requires in a parenting plan is the agreement of the parties on how they intend to handle disputes. At some point, the court anticipates issues with parents adhering to the plan in one way or the other. As such, the parents must decide the process for remedying a breach of the agreement. Some options include alternative dispute resolution and mediation, with a trip to the courtroom as the last resort. 

To negotiate an effective parenting plan and agreement, it helps to understand these and other facets the court expects. Visit our website for more helpful hints.