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Washington Child Custody Factors

In Washington, the court will award sole or joint child custody to either the mother, father or both with the best interests of the children as the standard for any decision. All custody cases must have a proposed parenting plan or agreement to be presented to the court for approval before the final order is put in place.

The primary goals of the parenting plan are to:

(1) Provide for the child’s physical care;

(2) Maintain the child’s emotional stability;

(3) Provide for the child’s changing needs as the child grows and matures, in a way that minimizes the need for future modifications to the permanent parenting plan;

(4) Set forth the authority and responsibilities of each parent with respect to the child

(5) Minimize the child’s exposure to harmful parental conflict;

(6) Encourage the parents to meet their responsibilities to their minor children through agreements in the permanent parenting plan, rather than by relying on judicial intervention; and

(7) To otherwise protect the best interests of the child. (Revised Code of Washington - Title 26 - Chapters: 26.09.181, 26.09.220)