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Child Custody

Men facing divorce in Washington often feel they need to settle for limited custody because it is expected that children stay with the mother. At Divorce Lawyers For Men, we reject this belief and fight for you, the Father, to receive the maximum amount of time with your children.

Child custody is a common term that refers to the issues of both physical and legal custody as well as visitation schedules. While custody determines which parent has the children on which day, it also covers important issues about who has authority to make decisions for the children. All the details and specifics about custody are detailed in the parenting plan.

Physical Custody

Child Custody in Washington State

“Who are the children going to live with?” This is one of the first questions parents facing divorce ask. All too often it is assumed that the mother should take the children. This forces many fathers, who are good and caring parents, to live without their children. Are you facing this situation?

As a father, you no doubt want to maintain and grow your relationship with your children. Many men want to have their children live with them and raise them day-to-day. If that is your wish, there is no reason to assume that you have to accept less. The most important issue in every divorce is the custody and welfare of the children. The court makes the “best interest of the child” its highest priority, and so do the attorneys at Divorce Lawyers For Men.

Washington divorce law uses the term “residential placement” to designate the children’s primary residence. The “residential schedule” then maps out visitation, detailing the specific periods, days, and times each parent has the children. The Parenting Plan spells out all the specifics of custody.

Legal Custody

While physical custody determines which parent the children live with and the schedule of visitation, Legal Custody sets forth who is authorized to make decisions regarding the children. You no doubt want to be involved in all the major decisions regarding your children. Even though parents are no longer married, there are so many decisions about education, health, and the welfare of the children to be made. The Parenting Plan will specify the legal custody to make decisions.

In many cases, both parents are able to agree to fully share the responsibility to make major decisions. In some divorce cases though, the court may limit one parent’s legal custody. Issues involving substance abuse or domestic violence could result in one parent losing the ability to make decisions for the children. Unfortunately, in such cases it is often the husband who finds himself in this situation. If you believe this is happening to you, speak to a divorce lawyer immediately.

If you are a father and your wife has threatened to deny you custody of your children, call us today at (360) 866-7393. The attorneys of Divorce Lawyers For Men are experienced helping fathers keep their legal rights and remain part of their children’s lives.

Temporary Parenting Plans

When the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, the court will hold a hearing to issue a Temporary Parenting Plan. Unfortunately, this is the step from which some fathers never recover. Especially if they appear without an attorney.

This temporary order is issued with little or no investigation, and before a Guardian ad Litem is appointed. It’s important for a father to carefully plan the steps leading up to, and following, separation to avoid a bad temporary order. The temporary order can set the tone that the court will follow in ordering final permanent custody.

Father’s Rights & Child Custody Issues

There are many things you can do as a father to help protect your custody rights. If custody rights are taken from you, even by a temporary parenting plan, it can be an uphill fight to win them back. Since your children are involved in this divorce, you want to maintain strong visitation and joint custody rights. It is important to start building your case as early, and as solidly as possible.

Domestic violence is a strong factor in determining custody and visitation. Avoid situations that might lead to allegations of domestic violence. It is better to keep your cool and keep your distance than try to explain a misunderstanding to a judge. Many men are falsely accused of domestic violence. Avoid situations where your spouse can manufacture false allegations. Men must be on their best behavior. Walk away from fights. Let your attorney argue your case to the judge. You will get a better result. Men are also victims of domestic violence, despite the fact that it often goes unreported. Report threats, acts of violence, and domestic abuse promptly to your attorney so that your spouse’s misconduct can be documented. Discuss all domestic violence issues with your attorney in complete detail.

Mothers are not automatically entitled to child custody. However, it’s often an uphill fight for fathers to prove that it is in the best interest of the children for the father to be awarded custody. Skillful and experienced legal representation, well-versed in custody law, is the best way to improve your chances.

What If You Were Never Married?

Marriage is not a requirement for the court to determine child custody. Any parent can seek to establish a Parenting Plan with the court. Unmarried child custody is a growing issue for fathers who are not married to the child’s mother or who are in other non-traditional family situations. Unmarried fathers have the same rights as married fathers.

Let’s talk about your situation

Divorce Lawyers For Men™ attorneys advocate for fathers’ rights in divorce and fight to preserve fathers’ relationships with their children. Our attorneys have been fighting for, and winning, primary custody for fathers since 1983. If you’re a father and wish to be your kids’ primary custodial parent, choose a divorce lawyer from our firm nearest you to help you accomplish your goal or schedule a 30-minute consultation.

“All I ever wanted was to come home at the end of the day and spend time with my children. Watching them grow up is the most important part of my life right now. Thank you Divorce Lawyers For Men for making this possible.” – Stephen W.

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