Oftentimes when parents separate, they do not agree on parenting and child visitation issues. Both parents may want primary custody. Or, one parent may want weekend visitations while the other parent wants a 50/50 split time arrangement. One parent may travel for work, causing them to want a non-traditional arrangement with regard to custody time and visitation, which the other parent may not want to accommodate. Parties can get increasingly frustrated and tempers can flare when issues like these come up. What happens when two parents don’t agree on a parenting plan?
The Revised Code of Washington, RCW 26.09.220(1), says that:
(a) The court may order an investigation and report concerning parenting arrangements for the child, or may appoint a guardian ad litem pursuant to RCW 26.12.175, or both. The investigation and report may be made by the guardian ad litem, court-appointed special advocate, the staff of the juvenile court, or other professional social service organization experienced in counseling children and families.
(b) An investigator is a person appointed as an investigator under RCW 26.12.050(1)(b) or any other third-party professional ordered or appointed by the court to provide an opinion, assessment, or evaluation regarding the creation or modification of a parenting plan.
Basically, this RCW gives the court the ability to get help in making the important decision about what is the best living/visitation situation for children whose parents are getting divorced and who can’t come to an agreement about parenting. Ultimately, the Washington State Courts looks to the “best interest of the child” when examining and deciding custody issues. In King County, there are experienced family law focused judges who use guardian ad litems and other resources to determine the best result with regard to child custody and visitation.