What Is Considered for a Parenting Plan?
For purposes of a parenting plan, the Spokane County Superior Court, as well as all other county superior courts in Washington State, considers the factors identified in the Revised Code of Washington State in implementing a parenting plan, whether temporary or final.
A temporary parenting plan is a parenting plan that is ordered at a temporary orders hearing pending final resolution of your family law matter. [RCW 26.09.004(4)] A permanent or final parenting plan is the final parenting plan that is obtained after either a trial or agreement. [RCW 26.09.004(3)]
TEMPORARY PARENTING PLAN – RCW 26.09.194 identifies some of the factors that Washington State County Courts will consider for a temporary parenting plan. The Statute reads in relevant part:
(1) A parent seeking a temporary order relating to parenting shall file and serve a proposed temporary parenting plan by motion… The proposed temporary parenting plan may be supported by relevant evidence and shall be accompanied by an affidavit or declaration which shall state at a minimum the following:
(a) The name, address, and length of residence with the person or persons with whom the child has lived for the preceding twelve months;
(b) The performance by each parent during the last twelve months of the parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the child;
(c) The parents’ work and child-care schedules for the preceding twelve months;
(d) The parents’ current work and child-care schedules; and
(e) Any of the circumstances set forth in RCW 26.09.191 that are likely to pose a serious risk to the child and that warrant limitation on the award to a parent of temporary residence or time with the child pending entry of a permanent parenting plan.
RCW 26.09.194(1)(a) – (e)
RCW 26.09.197 is also relevant. It reads in relevant part:
After considering the affidavit required by RCW 26.09.194(1) and other relevant evidence presented, the court shall make a temporary parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child. In making this determination, the court shall give particular consideration to:
(1) The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent; and
(2) Which parenting arrangements will cause the least disruption to the child’s emotional stability while the action is pending.
The court shall also consider the factors used to determine residential provisions in the permanent parenting plan.
Permanent/Final Parenting Plan
Washington State County Courts considers RCW 26.09.187(3) as follows:
(3) RESIDENTIAL PROVISIONS.
(a) The court shall make residential provisions for each child which encourage each parent to maintain a loving, stable, and nurturing relationship with the child, consistent with the child’s developmental level and the family’s social and economic circumstances. The child’s residential schedule shall be consistent with RCW 26.09.191. Where the limitations of RCW 26.09.191 are not dispositive of the child’s residential schedule, the court shall consider the following factors:
(i) The relative strength, nature, and stability of the child’s relationship with each parent;
(ii) The agreements of the parties, provided they were entered into knowingly and voluntarily;
(iii) Each parent’s past and potential for future performance of parenting functions as defined in *RCW 26.09.004(3), including whether a parent has taken greater responsibility for performing parenting functions relating to the daily needs of the child;
Parenting functions are “aspects of the parent-child relationship in which the parent makes decisions and performs functions necessary for the care and growth of the child. [RCW 26.09.004(2)]
- Maintaining a loving, stable, consistent, and nurturing relationship with the child;
- Attending to the daily needs of the child, such as feeding, clothing, physical care and grooming, supervision, health care, and day care, and engaging in other activities which are appropriate to the developmental level of the child and that are within the social and economic circumstances of the particular family;
- Attending to the adequate education for the child, including remedial or other education essential to the best interests of the child;
- Assisting the child in developing and maintaining appropriate interpersonal relationships;
- Exercising appropriate judgment regarding the child’s welfare, consistent with the child’s developmental level and the family’s social and economic circumstances; and
- Providing for the financial support of the child.
[RCW 26.09.004(2)(a) – (f)]
(iv) The emotional needs and developmental level of the child;
(v) The child’s relationship with siblings and with other significant adults, as well as the child’s involvement with his or her physical surroundings, school, or other significant activities;
(vi) The wishes of the parents and the wishes of a child who is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to his or her residential schedule; and
(vii) Each parent’s employment schedule, and shall make accommodations consistent with those schedules.
Factor (i) shall be given the greatest weight.
RCW 26.09.187(3)(a)(i) – (vii)
RCW 26.09.191 above is especially important to evaluate whether any proper limitations or restrictions should apply to either parent in litigating a parenting plan. Again, the best interest standard is the most important consideration. Detriment to the child, whether physical, mental, or emotional, should not be tolerated. If applicable, the parent responsible for causing any such harm to a child may likely lead to limited or restricted visitation.
As you can see, a parenting plan is a complex court order that requires tremendous consideration and relevant knowledge on a wealth of factors including the court’s legal procedure. If you need a parenting plan or residential schedule, you will undoubtedly be best served with a knowledgeable attorney to represent you. A good lawyer can guide you through the process efficiently and effectively to help obtain the best possible outcome in court.
Phone for Free Consultation: 509.325.0125