The divorce process can be lengthy and emotional. One component of divorce for couples who have a child is determining with whom the child will live. If you’re going through a divorce in Bellevue, here’s what you need to know about the child custody process in Bellevue.
Parenting Plans in Washington State
Couples who are seeking a divorce and who have a child together must create a parenting plan. A parenting plan outlines several factors that affect the parents and the child.
- Which parent will have custody of the child
- How much time the child will spend with each parent
- Which parent will be in charge of making decisions about the child
- How the parties will work out disagreements about the child
If you are facing a divorce, you will need to collect all of the required instructions and forms for filling out a parenting plan. Below are some of the forms you may need to fill out.
- Parenting Plan
- Declaration in Support of Parenting Plan
- Washington State Child Support Schedule & Worksheets
- Financial Declaration
- Sealed Financial Source Documents
- Order of Child Support
- Residential Time Summary Report
Unfortunately, two divorcing parties cannot always come to an agreement on about child custody. When this is the case, then a judge will make a decision about a parenting plan during a hearing process.
Child Custody Hearing in Bellevue
During a child custody hearing, a judge will make a determination about a parenting plan and custody based on arguments from both sides, as well as a number of other factors.
According to the Revised Code of Washington section 26.09.002, the judge must make his decision based on “the best interests of the child.” The statute also states that some of the things that may influence the judge’s decision include residential time and financial support. The judge also will consider if each parent provides an environment that supports the child’s “emotional growth, health and stability, and physical care.”
During the hearing, the judge will look at all factors named above. Both parents can submit evidence supporting their argument.
Getting Ready for Your Hearing
Filing for child custody and attending a child custody hearing can be stressful. It is important that you have an attorney on your side who can assist you throughout the process. Another way that you can prepare is by getting all of your evidence in order and preparing yourself for questions. Questions you face may include details about your lifestyle, hobbies and day-to-day activities, relationship status, job, income, and more. Your attorney can help prepare you for any questions you could face.
You also have the option of calling witnesses to the stand to help support your case. Choose your witnesses carefully – during a child custody hearing, a witness should be someone who will support your side, like a child’s teacher or close friends and relatives.
During the hearing, always remain calm and polite. Show up on time, submit all required documents, and plan on leaving your children at home unless otherwise requested by a judge. Before you arrive, know what you plan to say. Throughout the hearing, remain respectful to everybody, including the other parent.
Contact a Child Custody Attorney at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny
If you are getting a divorce and need help filing for custody of your child, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny can help. We’ll help fill out a parenting plan, prepare for the hearing and pursue the court outcome you desire. If you have questions, call us today at 425-460-0550 or fill out our online contact form.