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Child custody modification according to Washington state law

Child custody agreements made by family court judges in Washington focus on the doctrine of the "best interests of the child." Thus, a modification of a child custody arrangement by a family court judge is not commonplace.

However, in some cases the biological parents or guardians of the minor child may be able to bring forth evidence which was not previously taken into account. There may also be substantial changes in the circumstances for the non-custodial or the custodial biological parent, which may compel the judges to modify the pre-existing child custody order and decree. Military personnel on a deployment away from the country or an instance where the custodial parent may need to relocate to another city, state or country may not be automatic grounds for a child custody modification.

Proving a case for modification of a child custody order may require that the non-custodial parent prove that the present custodial situation of the child is not in the emotional, financial or overall best interests of the child. Eyewitness testimony, medical reports, evidence presented by the child's school teachers or any other evidence may be brought forth in order to prove that the present situation may be detrimental to the child's wellbeing in general.

In certain cases, both biological parents or guardians may be in agreement about changing the child custody plan to further the best interests of the child. In such cases child custody modification may be allowed by the court in an amicable settlement between both parties.

Source: Leg.WA.gov, "Modification of parenting plan or custody decree," Accessed on April 17, 2015

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