When Children Can Legally Decide Which Mom And Dad to Live With in WA

Divorced clients typically ask whether their kids can choose which parent to live with. The response depends upon the timing of the children’s input. Kids 1) frequently have a say while their parenting strategy (i.e. kid custody order) is being developed, 2) generally have no choice while their parenting plan is in place, and 3) have a say once again during custody modification actions.

1. Prior To a Parenting Plan Remains In Location. RCW 26.09.187 supplies that courts should highly consider child-parent bonds when assigning property time in a parenting strategy. Most likely this suggests kids can affect their residential (custody) placement by indicating which parent they like best. Courts provide more weight to older kids’s choices, and teenagers can have a decisive effect on custody by selecting one moms and dad over the other.

Getting kids’s choices prior to a court can be difficult however. States declarations from minors are disfavored. Other courts and jurists disfavor statement from minors too. Normally the best way to convey a child’s preference to the court is to ask for a guardian advertisement litem. The guardian ad litem is a court-appointed agent who can supply the court with a report specifying, to name a few things, who children choose.

2. While a Parenting Plan Is In Location. After the parenting plan is in place, kids normally have very little option in which moms and dad they cope with. This rule comes from the influential Washington Supreme Court case In re Marital relationship of Rideout, 150 Wash. 2d 337 (2003 ). The Rideout case explained that children as old as thirteen can not decide whether to bypass the property arrangements of their custody strategy, regardless the children’s protestations.

This author’s useful experience recommends Washington courts tend to follow the Rideout rule irrespective the children’s ages. Rumor has it some judges and commissioners are willing to think about kids’s desires when the kids are fourteen or older. However tough Rideout is a dangerous proposal that can result in findings of contempt.

3. When Custody is Being Customized. An action for significant modification of the parenting plan again opens the door for kids’s input, due to the fact that the court once again figures out residential positioning. Filing an action for modification is no simple matter though, even when the children highly wish to come live with the customizing celebration. Substantial barriers prevent parents from filing most kinds of modifications absent a certifying significant change in situations.

Once among these four requirements are met, the court will normally consider kids’s viewpoints to the very same level as when a parenting plan is first formulated. To learn about child support modification Kennewick, please contact Clearwater Law Group.