Under Washington state law, matters involving child custody fall under the semantic umbrella of “parenting plans.” A successful parenting plan will determine where and with whom your child lives, as well as which school they attend, whether or not they receive religious instruction and when the non-custodial parent can visit her or his child.
A Washington judge will determine whether your parenting plan provides a loving and stable environment for your child. The relationship you shared with your child prior to the divorce will be analyzed, as will that of your soon-to-be former partner, with preference given to whomever is found to have played a larger role in your child’s upbringing — i.e. whomever was primarily responsible for addressing your child’s needs, whatever they may be.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s not uncommon for divorcing parties to disagree on the terms of a parenting plan. Should this disagreement prove especially difficult to resolve, the parties may be forced to take their case before a Washington judge. Since a judge’s decision is legally binding, it’s highly recommended that you consult an aggressive, experienced family lawyer as soon as possible.