Protecting The Parent/Child Bond
Whether you are facing a divorce or a separation from a long-term relationship, or you already have a child custody or support order, your child is most likely your biggest concern in any family law matter. You want to protect your child from the difficult conflicts involved in family law, while also protecting your time and your relationship with your child.
Platt, Thompson and Buescher, represents parents throughout northwest Washington from our offices in Seattle and Coupeville. Our lead family law attorney, Mimi Buescher, has a stellar reputation throughout Whidbey Island as a compassionate advocate on custody and support issues for our family law clients.
Putting Your Child’s Best Interests First
Washington law is very clear that your child’s best interest is the paramount concern in any divorce. That being said, the court will give credence to a parenting plan that you and your ex can create together. Experience tells us that parents who develop their own plan tend to have fewer conflicts in the future. Mimi has extensive experience with collaborative law and helping families create a custody arrangement tailored to their needs.
If you cannot come to an agreement, the court will determine custody for you. Under state law, the court reviews many factors to determine the custody situation that is in the best interest of your child. A few examples of such factors include:
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- The child’s age, emotional and development needs, including any health concerns
- The child’s relationship with siblings and other family members
- The parents’ ability to work together
- Each parent’s mental health
- The child’s preference, if old enough to express that
Some of these factors are quite subjective, and we will always argue for the court to view them in your favor. Mimi has decades of local court experience and understands what different judges may be looking for.
Calculating Accurate Child Support
Parents often have many questions regarding child support. Financial questions are always complex in a divorce. State statutes have a set method for calculating child support. The court will look at:
- The income of both parents
- The amount of time spent at each home
- Children from other relationships
The court will also look at extraordinary expenses for the child, such as health care costs, day care and extracurricular activities. We will walk you through the calculation process and help you advocate for you and your child at every step.
Every family is unique, and some families require special considerations for their child custody and support orders. At Platt, Thompson and Buescher, we represent many military families. They often deal with issues such as frequent moves and long deployments that can take their toll on a marriage.
Other special considerations include substance abuse and domestic violence. The courts take the safety and well-being of children very seriously, and any history of domestic violence could affect the outcome of a custody case. It does not necessarily mean the court will refuse the accused any contact with a child, but it may add limitations.
Child custody and support orders are never written in stone. The courts understand that circumstances change as children grow. Examples of when a judge may consider modifying a court order include:
- A change in employment status
- Relocation to a new city or out of state
- Health issues for one parent
The court may look for a “substantial change in circumstances” in order to modify a court order, depending on the age of the order. Though the law provides some guidance, in other cases, the judge has discretion. We are happy to discuss your situation with you regarding the likelihood of a modification in your case.
Find Out How We Can Help
As your custody lawyers, we are here for you and your child. Learn more about how Platt, Thompson and Buescher can help. Contact our Coupeville office to schedule an appointment by calling 360-474-3994 or by reaching out online.