Archive for family law

Parenting Plan: Six Tips for Creating a Successful Plan

A solid parently plan focuses on your kids' needs.

Writing a successful parenting plan that works for both of you and gets approval by the court can feel like a complicated process. Yet its importance when it comes to determining child custody responsibilities cannot be overstated. In the end, the plan should help your children feel both parents are on the same page when it comes to their well-being while helping them to accept and adjust to the divorce.

Follow these six tips to write a parenting plan that shows the court you are taking the proper steps to do what’s in your child’s best interests.

Put Children First

Look at the day-to-day custody through your child’s eyes. That requires putting emotion aside and focusing on what your kids really need for stability. Verywell Family, a website that provides advice on parenting, suggests looking at their daily lives to see how it looks from their point of view. Will they be able to keep attending school and current activities? Will they miss certain events or activities? What will they gain from the custody arrangement?

Consider Mitigating or Limiting Factors

Both of you must consider any mitigating or limiting factors which might impact the placement of the children and their contact with the non-placement parent. You must also look at abuse or other behavioral issues and how they could negatively impact your kids. Sometimes, it is behavior or special needs of the children themselves that influence how the court ultimately considers when issuing the final order of parenting.

Create a Schedule

Plan to create a parenting schedule in Washington state. This schedule will show who has custody of the children on a day-to-day basis. The plan explains how much time your children will spend with of you. Remember to indicate who will have the kids on birthdays, vacations, holidays and during other events, too. Include information on how you both plan to follow the schedule, such as by using online calendar apps such as Talking Parents or Cozi.

Cover Other Needs

Decide in writing who will pay for what when it comes to expenses related to extracurricular expenses and events, such as birthdays, going to camp, entertainment, etc. Also include how you and your co-parent plan to handle big decisions, such as religious choices and events, discipline, education and health issues. Explain how you’ll work out major disagreements.

Consider a Relocation

In Washington state, your plan must include an explanation of what happens if you or your co-parent want to move with the child. For more information on Washington’s Relocation Law, visit Washington LawHelp.

Consider a Do-It-Yourself Plan

We offer a do-it-yourself Parenting Plan that was developed in 2017 as a Washington State Mandatory form. The plan is included in our Divorce Forms Kit with Children and our Legal Separation Kit, among others (click here to see all of our Family Law kits). You may prefer to hire an attorney who can help you create a parenting plan. Click here to see a list of attorneys who handle these types of cases.

This blog post is not offered as specific advice, which may only be provided by an attorney based upon each individual situation. To find an attorney, click here to visit our attorney referral page

3 Tips To Help You and Your Spouse Talk to Your Kids About Divorce

talk to your kids about divorce

Like most parents, you hope to never need to talk to your kids about divorce. But divorce happens, and when it does, your kids need to understand the situation and how it affects them. Your kids may be more perceptive about what’s going on than you think, which makes the conversation all the more important. Follow these tips to talk to your kids about divorce and make sure they understand what’s going on and feel reassured about their future.

Explain Together

This is the time for you and your spouse to put aside your differences and make a statement together in front of your kids. Don’t fight with each other during this conversation, as the goal is to show your children that you can work together as parents. Also avoid the blame game or making negative comments about each other in front of your kids during this conversation, says Liana Lowenstein, MSW, a therapist who offers resources for families going through divorce. Click here to read her article, Explaining Separation/Divorce to Children.

Script It

Don’t improvise the conversation when you talk to your kids about divorce. Instead, decide what to say beforehand, and stick to the script. Start by understanding your child’s age group and what’s essential to them. Today’s Parent offers a thorough age by age guide worth a read before you create your script.

Gerald A. Falzone, a family law attorney, says there’s no need to pretend everything is fine during this conversation. He suggests keeping things simple and about facts. Get ideas about what to say in his article, Joint Custody: How to Talk With Your Kids About Divorce.

Basically, explain when the divorce will take place and which parent will be staying in the home and which one will be moving out. Talk to them about when they will see the other parent, according to your custody arrangement. This part of the conversation may come later than the initial announcement. Take a look at the example scripts offered at FamilyEducation.org.

Encourage Questions

Allow your kids to explain how they feel right after the announcement and in the days to follow. Encourage any questions they may have. Listen carefully to what they have to say, and if you don’t know the answer, tell them so. Acknowledge their feelings instead of pushing them away, as this leaves the door open for maintaining an open dialogue as the divorce progresses.

Related:

We sell do-it-yourself divorce/dissolution kits as well as legal separation kits, good in the state of Washington. These kits can be bought as an instant download, or you can order one, and we’ll mail it to you:

Divorce Forms Kit without Children (also known as Dissolution Kit without Children)

Divorce Forms Kit with Children (also known as Dissolution Kit with Children)

Legal Separation Kit, Non-Contested