Parenting Plans

The law states Washington’s policy regarding parenting at RCW 26.09.002:

“Parents have the responsibility to make decisions and perform other parental functions necessary for the care and growth of their minor children. In any proceeding between parents under this chapter, the best interests of the child shall be the standard by which the court determines and allocates the parties’ parental responsibilities. The state recognizes the fundamental importance of the parent-child relationship to the welfare of the child, and that the relationship between the child and each parent should be fostered unless inconsistent with the child’s best interests. The best interests of the child are served by a parenting arrangement that best maintains a child’s emotional growth, health and stability, and physical care. Further the best interest of the child is ordinarily served when the existing pattern of interaction between a parent and child is altered only to the extent necessitated by the changed relationship of the parents or as required to protect the child from physical, mental, or emotional harm.”

The law provides standards for establishing Parenting Plans.

  • RCW 26.09.184 sets for the provisions to be included in all plans. Mandatory forms contain all the necessary provisions.

  • RCW 26.09.187 sets forth criteria the Court will use in establishing permanent parenting plans.

  • RCW 26.09.191 sets forth requirements regarding limitations and restrictions in parenting plans.

Before a final Parenting Plan is entered:

  • Each parent is required to attend a 4-hour Parenting Seminar

  • The Court is required to review judicial information data bases regarding each party’s history to court involvement

The Court encourages non-adversarial dispute resolution for those parents who do not agree on Parenting Plans. Mediation is required and highly recommended for parties where the relationship has not involved domestic violence.