Selecting a Washington Child Custody Lawyer

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When contested, child custody is perhaps the most important issue for parties in a Washington State divorce, relocation, modification, or non-parental child custody case.

The information below will provide answers to many questions concerning child custody in family law cases. If you need a child custody lawyer to advise or represent you regarding your rights and responsibilities of parenthood, please contact McKinley Irvin's Client Services Department for assistance in selecting an experienced child custody lawyer to assist you. We also invite you to visit our attorney profiles page for detailed information about all of our exceptional divorce and child custody lawyers.

Washington Custodial Parent Laws

In the State of Washington, a child's residential schedule and other parental rights and responsibilities are typically addressed in a court order called a "Parenting Plan," which is determined by agreement or by the court, and usually with the guidance of a Washington State licensed divorce attorney or child custody lawyer. The court's responsibility under the law is to ensure that the Parenting Plan arrangements serve the best interests of the child

The phrase "child custody" is sometimes mistaken to mean that the parent designated as the "custodial parent" enjoys greater rights than the "non-custodial parent." In fact, a parent who is named the custodial parent in a parenting plan is designated as such for purposes of state laws other than the laws related to divorce or parenting plans.

The non-custodial parent normally retains his or her parental rights under the parenting plan, including residential time and decision making, regardless of custodial designations. Parental rights such as residential time with the child, participating in decision making, and other aspects of the parent/child relationship are only limited upon legal findings of abuse, neglect, or other factors which the court concludes has or will negatively impact the best interests of the child, such as domestic violence, and alcohol or drug abuse.

"Grandparent Custody" or Non-Parental Custody

In non-parental custody cases it is fairly typical to have increased restrictions on parental rights, as the court must find the parents unfit or unwilling to meet parental responsibilities in order to award custody of the child to the petitioner, who is typically a family member, such as a grandparent.

High-Conflict Child Custody and Parenting Plan Cases

Some of our attorneys focus their practice on high-conflict child custody cases, such as cases involving sexual abuse allegations, domestic violence, or drug or alcohol abuse where limitations on the parent/child relationship are being sought. These limitations can include no contact, limited contact, or supervised contact between parent and child. High-conflict child custody law is often highly complex, and it is critical that these cases be managed strategically from the very beginning.

McKinley Irvin Child Custody Lawyers

Each McKinley Irvin child custody lawyer is experienced in Washington and Oregon law regarding parenting plans, residential schedules, and child custody. We have successfully represented hundreds of clients in divorces and other family law actions involving both contested and agreed child custody and parenting plan matters.

Our child custody attorneys understand these cases are often highly emotional and can be profoundly consequential to our clients and their children. Our lawyers ensure that each client understands the strengths and weaknesses of their particular case so they are enabled to make the best child custody and parenting plan decisions for themselves and their families.

McKinley Irvin is the premier divorce and family law firm in the Pacific Northwest. For more than 25 years, our firm has built a legacy of success in representing clients involved in Washington State divorce and family law matters, including all cases involving child custody.

If you are thinking about filing a divorce, parenting plan modification, non-parental custody action, paternity case, or other family law action involving child custody, we invite you to visit our lawyer profile page and contact our firm to schedule a consultation appointment.

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