If you share a child with a former partner, you will share the responsibility of raising that child after a divorce or separation. Even if you don’t have custody of your son or daughter, Washington law will likely grant visitation rights. The extent of your rights will be defined per the terms of a written parenting plan.
A good parenting plan is flexible
It may not be practical to spend time with your child when he or she is sick. It may not be possible to pick up your son or daughter if your car won’t start. While these scenarios may be unfortunate, you should expect things to happen that might make compliance with child custody or visitation plan impossible. A good parenting plan will allow you to make up for a lost day of parenting time by extending your next visitation period or by scheduling a special day out with your son or daughter.
A good parenting plan takes your child’s needs into account
Parenting plans should account for the fact that your son or daughter will want to spend time with friends or participate in extracurricular activities. As your son or daughter gets older, you may have to account for the fact that your child needs to devote time to athletics or to a job. As a good parent, you should ensure that your child’s happiness trumps whatever feelings you might have about a custody or visitation arrangement.
If you have any concerns about creating a parenting plan, it may be a good idea to see a family court judge. The same may be true if you want to modify an existing order or believe that your former partner is willfully breaking the terms of that order