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If you and your spouse have children, figuring out a parenting plan is crucial when divorcing. Your divorce may be fraught, and a plan could create stability amid the chaos. But if you’re lucky, you and your spouse may both be responsible, fit parents who can reach an equitable arrangement.

No matter your circumstance, you may not know how to proceed. But parenting plans can make sense once you know how they work.

Parenting plans offer clear arrangements

Even if you and your spouse are friendly, unwritten or open agreements can lead to miscommunication and frustration. By creating a parenting plan, the division becomes clear and enforceable. Your child might also wish to spend more time with one parent than the other, whether that’s you or not. If so, the plan will take this into consideration, too. And it will prevent the parent with the lesser share from overstepping their legal rights.

Parenting plans consider the child’s best interest

By Washington law, parenting plans reflect the child’s best interest. Beyond their wishes, the determining factors include:

  • The ability to provide for the child’s basic needs
  • The ability to provide for the child’s emotional needs
  • The ability to provide financial support for the child
  • Involvement and investment in the child’s education
  • Soundness of mind and judgment

Even if you harbor ill feelings toward your spouse, they may still be a loving and qualified parent. Prioritizing your child’s interests over your own can then help you work toward reaching a plan based on these factors.

Divorce is difficult, but a clear parenting plan can make it more straightforward. It also helps your child’s well-being, since it takes their needs into consideration. Working with a legal professional can help you achieve the arrangement that’s right for your family.