Divorce is a draining process. For many, especially those going through it for the first time, it’s a barrage of legal drafts and the unsolicited advice from friends and family can just feel overwhelming. Not to mention the emotional stress of separating from a spouse.
In many cases, we find one or both parents with a similar sentiment: let’s just get through this.
We understand that. Hardly anybody likes getting divorced. Unfortunately, it can get quite combative. Despite the emotional stress, though, there comes a time when spouses need to hunker down, put their personal interests aside, and do their best to fight through the fogginess: when kids are involved.
Form a Parenting Plan
In Washington, we don’t use the term “custody”. Instead, it’s referred to as a “Parenting Plan”. We’ve seen a variety of these, as each one is different, particular to the needs of the family. Yet the success of each one is determined by one thing – the cooperation between the parents.
When divorce happens, parents have the opportunity to determine the Parenting Plan themselves. This is most ideal. Once it is agreed upon by both parents, they submit it to the Court for a judge to authorize.
The judge’s responsibility centers on one thing – the best interests of the child. If the plan supports that, then it is highly likely to be authorized.
What An Effective Plan Looks Like
A good plan is a thorough plan – it incorporates all aspects of the child’s life, is realistic about the parent’s capabilities, and is sustainable over time. Some parents plan short-term, failing to realize the plan needs to cover the child’s life until he/she reaches the age of 18.
While making your plan, here are important questions to consider:
It Must Include the Finer Details
Beyond the big questions, a number of more particular details must be considered by the parents as well.
Parents Can’t Always Form an Agreement, Though
Ideally, parents will determine this plan together, or with the help of a mediator. A pleasant agreement doesn’t always happen, though. One parent may have strong views on the level of involvement the spouse may have, or the spouse’s capability in being a responsible parent.
When the parents are unable to come to a mutual agreement, we see the decision to involve lawyers. It’s unfortunate, but a necessity in certain situations.
We do hope that if you find yourself in need of legal assistance, that you’d choose to work with our firm. We have over 40 years’ experience in child custody litigation, and are happy to provide a free consultation on what the upcoming process may look like. Contact us today at Spencer & Sundstrom.