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How child custody can be lost

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Recently updated on May 8th, 2024 at 12:33 am

After dissolution/separation of marriage, when both spouses have children, then a question arises that who will be the custodian of their children. Parenting Plan is a legal document which explains the basic arrangements for caring for children, that is where the children will live, who will make decision for the children, and how disputes about the parenting plan will be resolved. If a married couple has children together and then is separated, court orders for parenting plan as a part of their dissolution/divorce, legal separation, and annulment or parenting plan modification.

The legal information available is:

  • The term custody is not used in Washington State.
  • Instead, both spouses usually share their responsibility for their children.
  • Typically, the children will live with one parent for majority of the time.
  • While sometimes, some children will live with their parents for the equal amount of time.
  • But the fact is that it is totally depend upon the parenting arrangement that what is in the best interest of the children.
  • In Washington, the law requires that is encouraged by the parenting arrangement to each parent to maintain a loving, caring, stable and nurturing relationship with their children.
  • Subject to the child’s development level and the family’s social and economic circumstances.
  • Most of the separating parents do agree on parenting arrangements for their children.
  • The court usually agrees on the arrangements of the separating parents agreed voluntarily.
  • And in this case, court usually approves the agreement.
  • It may be noticed that the children’s best interest plays a pivot role in the agreed parenting arrangement.
  • If there is a dispute between the separating parents or if they don’t agree upon, then the court shall make the decision.
  • To make the decision, the court shall use the general standard in the best interest of the children in accordance with the emotional & developmental needs of the children, the children relationship with siblings and others adults, and the children’s potential for each parent to perform parenting functions in the coming future.  Each parent’s job/earning schedule shall be considered.
  • The wishes of the parents and child/children as well shall be considered if the child/children is/are mature enough.
  • If there have been serious parenting problem with separating parents that effect their ability to parent, the court must consider this huge blunder when making arrangements for the children.
  • The problems that a child may face are i.e. Child abuse or neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, insobriety by unlawful assembly.
  • If any of the parents is involved in sex offense or is convicted, then the court prohibits that parent to have time with the children.
  • In Washington, adults decide where the children will live.
  • The court will consider the child’s wish if the child is enough mature and enough old.
  • There is no magic age for a child to be mature enough to state his/her choice accordingly.
  • Generally courts do not want children to be involved in these type of decisions.
  • In divorce or in legal separation, court may appoint a qualified person for the representation of children’s best interests.
  • The person is called as a Guardian ad Litem.
  • The court keeps registry/records of that qualified person (guardian ad litem) in the country.
  • Once the court signs the parenting plan, both the parents have to follow the decision thereto.
  • If a parent interferes the right of other parent to see the children, then the interferer parent may be found in contempt of court.



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