Child Custody Laws in Washington State: Important Things to Note

a dad hugging his child

Divorce is always hard, especially for the children. Back in the day, many parents stayed married even if they did not get along for the sake of the children. Today, parents still worry about the effects of divorce on their children. However, they also know that staying in a bad marriage can still lead to problems for the children.

When divorce is the only solution, a child custody attorney in Lynnwood such as Feldman & Lee PS can help ease the way. The child custody laws in Washington State serve as a guide.

Parenting plans

Technically, there is no such thing as child custody in Washington State. The law uses the term parenting plan instead. The parenting plan is legally binding. It sets down the arrangements for the care of a child or children of divorce.

It details where the child will live, which parent will make decisions for the child, and how to resolve any issues about the parenting plan. In most cases, the child will live with one parent most of the time. In some instances, the parents get equal time with the child.


The details of a parenting plan depend on each case. If both parents agree on the terms of a plan, the court will usually approve it. However, the court will still see if the agreement is in the child’s best interest before signing off on it.

If there is no agreement between the parents, the court will usually decide for them.

Factors involved

The court has to consider many factors when deciding on the best parenting plan for a child. This includes the relationship between the child and the parent. It also looks at the physical and financial situation. If there is more than one child, the court will also look at the relationships between the siblings.

The court will also see if one or both parents have problems that might have a bad effect on the child. This includes a history of substance abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, or neglect.

The basis of child custody laws in Washington State is the best interest of the child. However, that means many things. A child custody attorney Lynnwood can provide the information to help the court make the right call.