Washington State’s family laws consider how a divorce could affect children. Divorcing couples may need to agree to a shared parenting plan. The plan generally outlines how much responsibility each individual has for a child.
As explained on the Washington State Courts website, a couple may design a schedule of when and how often children can reside with each parent. For example, if one parent has a job that demands traveling, an arrangement may specify that the children will reside with the nontraveling parent while the working parent is away.
Holiday, vacation and special event schedules
A divorcing couple may determine which holidays, birthdays and events their children will spend with each parent. A parenting plan can also outline a static or alternating arrangement detailing when children spend time with their custodial and noncustodial parent.
A judge may include the scheduling details of a parenting plan in the divorce decree. If an individual does not abide by the agreed-upon schedule, such as by not allowing an ex-spouse to see his or her children, the court may legally enforce the plan.
Decision making and financial responsibilities
As noted by Healthline Media, a shared parenting plan may include how much responsibility each spouse has toward paying a child’s medical care. Couples may also agree on which major decisions, such as education, religion and extracurricular activities, go into a shared plan.
A divorce settlement provides an opportunity to reach a workable arrangement that fosters a positive relationship between a parent and his or her children. A parent who takes custody may not have exclusive rights in raising the children. A constructive negotiation between two soon-to-be ex-spouses, however, could create a shared plan that favors the best interests of the children.