Child Custody and Parenting Plans

Parenting Plans

A Parenting Plan is the Court Order that determines where your child will reside every day out of the year and is broken into specific sections including the school schedule, school vacation schedule (winter, mid-winter, spring break, etc.) schedule for holidays and special occasions.  A Parenting Plan also provides for decision making authority for both parents and determines if there are any other provisions that are important to you and in the best interests of your children. You can either agree to a Parenting Plan, or a judicial officer will make findings and impose a Parenting Plan on both parents after a contested hearing or trial. It is important for you to have an experienced child custody attorney to negotiate and if necessary, litigate a parenting plan that is appropriate for you and your children. Your may review additional information regarding the violation of parenting plans and child custody laws related to parenting plans.


The current law regarding child custody in Washington is codified in 26.09.270. Specifically, that statute states:  RCW 26.09.270

“Child custody — Temporary custody order, temporary parenting plan, or modification of custody decree — Affidavits required.

A party seeking a temporary custody order or a temporary parenting plan or modification of a custody decree or parenting plan shall submit together with his motion, an affidavit setting forth facts supporting the requested order or modification and shall give notice, together with a copy of his affidavit, to other parties to the proceedings, who may file opposing affidavits. The court shall deny the motion unless it finds that adequate cause for hearing the motion is established by the affidavits, in which case it shall set a date for hearing on an order to show cause why the requested order or modification should not be granted.

[1989 c 375 § 15; 1973 1st ex.s. c 157 § 27.]”

Child Custody Laws in Washington

As a parent, it is important to shield your children from the potential conflict that may arise between you and your spouse. You should always protect your children from being placed in the middle of the divorce proceeding. King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties require that you attend a half day parenting seminar to learn about the potential harm that can be caused to children by a divorce proceeding. You are required to take this seminar within a specified period of time after your case has been filed. View our blog for recommendations on what to avoid to win joint or full custody.

Another current law regarding child custody in Washington is codified in RCW 26.09.285. Specifically, that statute states:

RCW 26.09.285

“Designation of custody for the purpose of other state and federal statutes.

Solely for the purposes of all other state and federal statutes which require a designation or determination of custody, a parenting plan shall designate the parent with whom the child is scheduled to reside a majority of the time as the custodian of the child. However, this designation shall not affect either parent’s rights and responsibilities under the parenting plan. In the absence of such a designation, the parent with whom the child is scheduled to reside the majority of the time shall be deemed to be the custodian of the child for the purposes of such federal and state statutes.

[1989 c 375 § 16; 1987 c 460 § 21.]”

Child Custody Questions

Our experienced divorce and child custody Lawyers can discuss your child custody questions regarding visitation, child custody rights, court adjudication, child custody court rulings, child custody trials, becoming a primary residential parent, court orders, contempt proceedings, child custody agreement forms, child custody agreements, child custody modifications and enforcement of child custody in Washington State.

You may also visit our blog to read about child custody statistics in Washington state including outcomes by factors and county. You may view a complete reading list on child custody topics ranging from types of parenting plans to how to spend more quality time with your kids.

Please visit our TLC home page for additional information about our Child Custody Lawyers in Washington state.