Snohomish County Child Custody

Washington Custody and Visitation

The process of negotiating child custody, visitation and parenting plans is often the most conflict-filled part of a divorce or legal separation. When parents disagree about who should have primary custody — and about whether joint or shared child custody is a realistic option — the divorce process can go from quick and painless to lengthy, costly and emotional.

Washington state law requires parents to complete a detailed parenting plan in any divorce that involves children. The parenting plan spells out custody arrangements for every day of the year until the child turns 18. Modifications to this original parenting plan are possible, but it is critically important to complete a manageable and acceptable parenting plan the first time around.

An experienced family law attorney can work to secure a parenting plan and divorce decree that meets your needs and the needs of your children with regard to child custody and visitation arrangements. Contact our child custody lawyers at 866-690-0798 or 360-654-4925 to schedule an initial consultation.

The St. Clair Law Office ∙ Marysville, Washington

The St. Clair Law Office is a small, professional family law firm located in Marysville, Washington, just north of Everett. Our law practice offers cost-effective, high-quality legal guidance in family law matters, including child custody disputes. Our law firm is led by attorney Patricia Jo Nelson, a Washington native with nearly 32 years ' legal experience.

Preliminary Information About Child Custody Determinations in Washington

Negotiation Versus a Trial: Questions about child custody are almost always best resolved by the parents, via negotiation or mediation. If child custody disputes cannot be resolved by the parents, then a family court judge will determine child custody arrangements based on an independent evaluation of the best interests of the child.

Limitation of Contact: A parent's contact with a child may be limited — either at the time of the original divorce agreement or afterwards via a modification of the decree — if it can be shown that the parent poses a risk of harm to the child. Limitations on visitation rights are most common in cases of alcohol or drug abuse or neglect or abuse of the child — either by the child's parent or by the parent's significant other.

Parental Relocation: Under Washington law, a parent with primary custody who intends to relocate must formally notify the court and the other parent more than 30 days in advance, providing information about the new address and the address of the child's new school. If the parent plans to move far away, that may trigger modification of the existing parenting plan — and the other parent may file a formal objection to the relocation, on the grounds that the relocation will not serve the best interests of the child.

Third-Party Custody: If someone besides a parent wishes to assume custody of a child, formal legal proceedings are necessary. Our law office is available to represent either the potential custodian (such as a stepparent, grandparent or other family member) or the child's parent.

Schedule Your Initial Consultation With the St. Clair Law Office

Learn more about the legal issues involved in determinations of child custody. Schedule a confidential consultation with a lawyer at the St. Clair Law Office. Call 866-690-0798 or 360-654-4925, or contact us online.