When individuals divorce, they must make decisions about how their lives will unfold under new circumstances. If the individuals are parents, their decisions must also take into account the needs of their children. 

According to child custody laws in Washington state, parents who divorce need to abide by a parenting plan. 

What is the parenting plan? 

A parenting plan describes the arrangements made for future parenting. It identifies which parent the child will live with and where, how the parents will make decisions about the child, and how they will resolve any future disagreements about these arrangements. 

What happens if there is a dispute about living arrangements? 

In an ideal scenario, parents are able to come to an agreement about who the child will live with after the divorce. As long as the court concurs that the proposed arrangement is in the child’s best interest, it will approve the parents’ request. If parents are not in agreement, the court will decide which parent will receive the custodial role. Although children cannot make the decision, children who are sufficiently mature can offer input. The court gives much significance to the relationship that each parent has established with the child, and it attempts to adhere to the standard of doing what is in the best interests of the child. 

How is the plan modified in the case of relocation? 

If both parents agree to the move, and to the modifications that accordingly need to be made to the parenting plan, they can present this modified plan to the court. If the non-moving parent does not agree to the relocation, this parent must file an objection. The court will then resolve the matter, and if the relocation may go ahead, the court will also determine what changes the parenting plan will require. 

Dealing with a divorce, as well as issues regarding child custody, can leave individuals feeling confused and overwhelmed. Realizing that professional help and answers are available can make the situation seem less daunting.