Vancouver Child Custody Attorneys
Providing Compassionate & Reliable Legal Services to Families in Washington
Determining child custody and arranging a fair parenting time schedule are often considered the most important decisions parents need to make before finalizing their divorce. This can be an incredibly emotional experience, as both parents naturally want to maintain healthy and strong relationships with their child. When parents struggle to reach an agreement, the court can legally make a final determination based on the best interests of the child. However, over time, many decisions made during the divorce process may no longer reflect the child’s basic needs or best interests. Fortunately, Washington law allows parents the legal right to request child custody modifications so long as the changes ultimately benefit the child.
You don’t need to struggle through this legal process alone or pay excessive legal fees just to safeguard your relationship with your child. At Pacific Cascade Family Law, our Vancouver child custody lawyers can guide you through the mediation process or use innovative negotiation techniques to help you and your spouse reach an agreement about this important issue. If an agreement can’t be reached, our resourceful legal team is prepared to fiercely fight for your custody rights and legal objectives in court.
Contact our Vancouver child custody attorneys at 360-506-6332 to learn the various ways our firm can safeguard your custody rights.
Is Washington State a Mother State?
If the parents are married, child custody in Washington is based on what would be in the child’s best interests. However, if the parents are not married, custody automatically defaults to the mother unless the father establishes paternity.
At What Age Can a Child Choose Which Parent to Live With?
In Washington, minor children have no legal say in which parent they'd like to live with or visit. A child can only choose which parent to live with when they reach the age of 18 or are otherwise emancipated.
In other words, if you have children under the age of 18, then they cannot decide which parent they want to live with. If your child is emancipated, however, then he or she may life with whomever they want.
What Is an Unfit Parent in Washington State?
A parent is considered unfit if he or she fails to provide proper guidance, care, or support. This could mean:
- Not setting age-appropriate limits;
- Not understanding or responding to the child’s needs;
- No substantial involvement in the child’s life prior to petitioning for custody;
- Refusal to compromise or communicate with the other parent;
- A history of child abuse or domestic violence; and/or
- Problems with substance abuse.
How Do I Get a Parenting Plan in Vancouver, WA?
A parenting plan is a court order that outlines which parent the child will live with; how much time the child will spend with each parent; which parent will make major decisions about the child; and how the parents will resolve major disagreements. Parenting plans are drawn up when filing for divorce or legal separation, filing a petition to decide parentage, requesting a change of custody, or petitioning for non-parent custody.
If both parents agree to the terms, you can file a proposed parenting plan for court approval. If the parents cannot agree, a judge will decide on a parenting plan after a hearing or trial. For help creating a parenting plan that works for you and your family, consult with the Vancouver child custody lawyers at Pacific Cascade Family Law.
Retain Experienced Legal Guidance & Representation
When it comes to child custody determinations, you don’t want to take any chances and accidentally agree to an unfavorable condition. During your appointment, we can discuss your specific situation and develop a personalized case strategy that can best achieve your legal goals.
Key child custody issues we can discuss include:
- How the court determines the best interests of the child, and why you should consider these important factors when pursuing custody
- If a joint legal custody agreement is appropriate for your family’s circumstances
- How child support provides for a child’s basic needs
- The difference between legal custody and parenting time orders
- How a parenting plan can provide a noncustodial parent with sufficient time to maintain a healthy relationship with their child
Secure a Positive Case Outcome with Pacific Cascade Family Law
Our Vancouver child custody attorneys understand that this is an incredibly emotional and stressful time for you. The last thing a parent desires is a court order that legally restricts the time they can spend with their child. If you require legal guidance during your divorce or want to pursue a post-divorce child custody modification, contact Pacific Cascade Family Law today. We can provide you with the legal representation and advocacy you need.
Call Pacific Cascade Family Law at 360-506-6332 to schedule a free consultation.
“Supportive and professional team”- Maria Lucia Gomez-Greenberg
“Helpful and professional team”- Former Client
“Honest and Professional”- Former Client