Lagniappe (aka Blog)

206-926-9848

Washington Among States Considering Change to Custody Dispute Procedures

Posted by Elise Buie | Apr 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

Shutterstock_200304518

About 20 states across the US are currently considering proposed legislation that would alter the procedures for determining which parent will retain legal and physical control of a child following a divorce or separation. 

These laws have been promoted by advocacy groups who content that fathers have long been disadvantaged in the custody decision making process. These groups claim that even with laws that are designed to make decisions in the best interest of the child, mothers end up heavily favored by the system. 

In Washington and New York, proposed legislation would require judges to award equal parenting time to both parent unless there is proof that this arrangement would not be in the best interest of the child.

The current standard in the state of Washington is to apportion custody based on the best interests of the child. Parents are expected to develop a parenting plan prior to a custody hearing, which the court must then approve. One or both parents of a child may be granted legal or physical custody of a child. Legal custody refers to the ability to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as which school they will attend and what medical treatment they will receive. Physical custody refers to the time spent residing with either parent.

The 'best interests of the child' standard means that the court will examine factors such as each parents proximity to the child, the extent to which a parent participates in the decision-making process for a child, and the ability of parents to work cooperatively to make such decisions. 

Some groups have expressed serious concerns over making the proposed legislative change in Washington. Proponents of the law claim that the groups opposed (such as family lawyers and bar associations) are merely acting in self-interest, attempting to preserve a litigious court process for solving custody issues. However, opposing groups claim that setting a formula that automatically splits custody could take discretion out of the hands of judges and force the courts to give parenting time to abusive fathers. In addition, they claim that requiring couples who end up a custody hearing to have equal parenting time are illogicial, as those who end up litigating custody issues are couples with a relationship that is so contentious that these issues could not be resolved through a collaborative alternative dispute resolution process such as mediation.

Given that major legislative changes are pending in so many states, we could be looking at a significant nationwide shift in custody law in the coming year.

About the Author

Elise Buie

Passionate, creative, problem-solving attorney who crafts solutions rather than obstacles. Elise spends significant time educating her clients on healthy communication skills. Elise also ensures that her clients make informed decisions by understanding the future emotional and financial implications of their decisions. Your family's future is our first priority. Elise teaches her clients new skills to empower them in the future as they adjust to the new family structure. While divorce ends a marriage, it is the beginning of your new, often times, more authentic life. Elise will help you begin that new life with new skills to handle any future challenges.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Areas We Serve

At Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC, we represent clients from Seattle and Bellevue, Washington, and the surrounding region, including all of King County and the cities of Redmond, Kirkland, Bellevue, Edmonds, Issaquah, Kenmore, Kent, Federal Way, Shoreline, Des Moines, Bainbridge Island, Vashon, Auburn, Renton and Puyallup. We love working with clients from Seattle's unique, eclectic neighborhoods: West Seattle, Fremont, Ballard, Madrona, Queen Anne, Greenwood, Ravenna, Maple Leaf, Wedgewood, View Ridge, Laurelhurst, Windermere, Madison Park, Magnolia, South Lake Union, Capitol Hill, Broadmoor, Phinney Ridge, Crown Hill, Yarrow Point and Mercer Island.

Contact Us

Call us at (206) 926-9848
Email: info@elisebuiefamilylaw.com

We'll be happy to set up an initial consult. Thank you for looking around our site. We look forward to serving you.

We welcome your email, but please understand that if you are not already a client of Elise Buie Family Law Group, PLLC, we cannot represent you until we confirm that representing you would not create a conflict of interest. Please do not include any confidential information until we verify that our office is in a position to represent you and our engagement is confirmed in writing. Prior to that time, there is no legal representation and thus no attorney-client confidentiality.

Thank you.

Elise Buie Family Law Group

Jumping_20orca-compressor

Elise Buie Family Law Group PLLC
1001 Fourth Avenue, 44th Floor   Seattle, WA 98154

Menu