Seattle Child Custody Attorneys
Here at the DuBois Cary Law Group, we pride ourselves on finding a custody solution for every unique family situation. As parents ourselves, we are fully aware that a cookie cutter parenting plan simply does not fit all families' needs. We keep on top of current research regarding what is best for children.
As you may know, in Washington, the child custody and visitation agreement is called a parenting plan. Many parents come up with a parenting plan and never give it another thought. Others follow this child custody and visitation agreement to the letter until the child goes to college. However, each divorced family must have a specific plan upon which they can rely if disagreements arise.
As your lawyers, we will counsel you to approach parenting plans carefully. If you and your child's other parent disagree in the future, the court will order you to follow the plan as written. Parenting plans cannot be modified without court approval, which is often difficult. We will take the time necessary to explore all the possibilities and design the best plan for you and your children, minimizing the possibility of returning to court for expensive, risky modification.
No two parenting plans are alike. A parenting plan for a traveling tech professional or a firefighter working different shifts would be different from a parenting plan for an entrepreneur parent working from home or an engineer at Boeing. We understand that parenting plans are as complicated as people's lives. We are continually amazed at the creative ways families design their plans to accommodate each parents' strengths and weaknesses and address their children's needs.
Because only you know what works best for your children and your own unique family situation. Amanda and Monica and their team will help you craft and negotiate a completely customized plan that meets your family's specific needs.
In Washington State, the Parenting plan requires the designation of a primary parent. The other parent is typically given joint decision making rights and substantial residential time with the children. The amount of time and the exact schedule are the subject of negotiation, or if the parties are unable to agree, it will be decided by a judge.
If child custody is contested, a parenting evaluator or GAL is often appointed. This person is typically a mental health professional or an experienced family law attorney charged with making recommendations to the court about the children's residential schedule and who should be primary custodial parent. The court relies heavily on the parenting evaluator so it's important for you and your lawyer to choose one who will spend time with both parents and the children - someone you believe will advocate for the best interest of the whole family.
Child custody issues can be traumatic. The prospect of losing contact with your children is frightening. Amanda and Monica understand this. We have litigated cases of parents facing accusations of mental illness, domestic violence, spousal abuse, child abuse, and abandonment. We are confident of our skills to represent you and safeguard your interests.
Amanda and Monica have represented mothers and fathers who have worked hard to support their families, only to discover that their career has put them at a disadvantage in a child-custody dispute. Many working mothers are stunned to find out that a stay-at-home husband has a leg up in a custody child fight, since the stay-at-home parent is viewed by the court as the primary care-giver. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can protect your parenting plan rights and put you in a position to help you get the child custody arrangement that is best for you and your child.
In our experience, high-conflict child custody cases occur more frequently when one or both parents are unwilling or unable to compromise. Obviously, neither you nor our attorneys have any control over how your spouse will decide to approach child custody issues. However, our attorneys can promise that we will do our absolute best to win your case and try to curb the escalation of emotions as much as possible.
The good news in contested child custody situations is that our attorneys have helped many, many clients through this process. Most parents have become decidedly stronger people as a result. We often run into former clients and literally do a double-take, as they look happier and are clearly more in charge of their lives. Hang tight; this could be you down the road.
Amanda DuBois, Monica Cary and Lucia Levias have extensive experience in child custody cases. If you'd like to schedule a consultation, please call our Seattle office at (206) 547-1486 or our Bellevue office at (425) 279-7863.
Learn more about child custody and visitation
Washington uses a state-mandated parenting plan form to create a child custody and visitation agreement. A link on the Resources page will take you to this form. It may look long and complicated, but taking time to design it carefully will directly contribute to your child's well being.