Children Issues

General Family Law


Litigating in Seattle, WA since 1991

Who Has Parental Decision-Making Rights When Couples Divorce?

Going through a divorce when children involved can be a challenge. Divorce is especially hard on the children. Even children who grow up with their parents in a loving and successful marriage can face challenges. With that in mind, what do you do as a parent of young children at home when a divorce is imminent? Are there specific steps you would be inclined to take for the betterment of your children? How can you get to be in control of as many decisions as possible with your children? Will your soon-to-be-ex make things hard on you?

You no doubt want as much time and decision-making power as you can when it pertains to your young children.  So, getting answers to those questions is imperative. Finding the best legal counsel to represent you substantially increases your chances of getting what you want. Some things to discuss with your Seattle family law attorney when children are involved:

  • Who makes the key decisions? – Note that the state of Washington views a child’s residential schedule apart from authority to make decisions. While the parent the children are with at the time can make emergency decisions such as treating serious injuries and illnesses, other important calls should be pre-determined through a parental plan that outlines decision making. For instance, which parent determines the school for the children to attend? Who gets to determine non-emergency medical care decisions such as dental needs for the children? What is the proper age for the children to begin dating or even carry their own cell phone? Those are but a few of the important decisions that should be talked about and agreed to ahead of time. Fighting over such things only makes the divorce worse for all parties involved. The hope is both parents will come to an understanding on those and other important decisions ahead of time. When they do, they should be documented in writing. This can prevent there from being any major disagreements moving forward when important decisions need to be discussed or made.
  • What goes into the decisions? – It is also important to remember that your history as parents will play a role in decision-making matters. For instance, is there any history of domestic violence, alcoholism, drugs, abandonment or serious crimes? If so, it can sway the courts to favor one parent over another when it comes to decision making. Another matter that comes into play is will parents share 50-50 custody? Is one parent moving far away due to a job or military service? Those are but a few of the factors that can make it easier for the courts to decide who has the primary role of making important decisions in the lives of the children.

With one of the best family law practitioners backing you, you and your children will be in a better position.

  • Contact Seattle Divorce Lawyer V. Freitas