Child Custody

Child custody issues are among the most traumatic and painful during a divorce.  You and your spouse both undoubtedly have deep emotions regarding the care and raising of your children. Our goal is to take some of the anxiety out of this element of your divorce and help you achieve the custody and visitation you know is best for your child.

“The Best Interests of The Children” is a phrase you hear over and over again in family law.  But what does that really mean? To explain, the courts have a mandate to make residential provisions for each child which encourage each parent to maintain a loving, stable, and nurturing relationship with the child, consistent with the child’s developmental level and the family’s social and economic circumstances.  Additionally, it is important that you know that Washington has legislated, that as long as both parents are willing and able, a child should have time with both parents.  In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that each parent has a constitutional right to see their child.  

Unfortunately, there is no “standard formula”.  In each case, there are a number of factors that are considered in creating a parenting plan for your child.  Here are some of those:

  • The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent;
  • The agreements of the parties, provided they were entered into knowingly and voluntarily;
  • Each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting functions, including whether a parent has taken greater responsibility for performing parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the child;
  • (iv) The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;
  • (v) The child’s relationship with siblings and with other significant adults, as well as the child’s involvement with his or her physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;
  • (vi) The wishes of the parents and the wishes of a child who is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to his or her residential schedule; and
  • (vii) Each parent’s employment schedule, and shall make accommodations consistent with those schedules.

At Heritage Family Law, pursuing a divorce does not mean you have to be a less effective or less involved parent. We believe in giving children and their parents the stability to face a new future together with as few transitional challenges as possible.