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What if I disagree with a parenting plan in Washington?

Unfortunately, even after the divorce decree is signed and a parenting plan is in place, disagreements between parents can still arise. For example, one parent may feel that they have not been given a fair amount of time with their child. Other times, custodial parents may be tempted not to allow the non-custodial parent to enjoy his or her visitation rights if he or she has failed to pay child support. However, once a parenting plan in Washington is legally established by the court, both parents are obligated to abide by it.

Many times a parenting plan addresses the fact that disagreements may arise by including a method with which parents are to use to resolve disagreements. For example, parents may need to mediate the issue or attend counseling. Sometimes these actions are required before a parent can go to court to seek enforcement of the plan.

That being said, there are some instances in which certain conflict-resolution procedures such as mediation may not be appropriate. For example, if there is a history of domestic violence between the spouses, the victim may not want to go through mediation. However, if the victim does want to go through mediation to resolve a dispute and the court deems that doing so is appropriate under the circumstances, it may be permitted.

If a person in Washington finds him or herself in the middle of a child custody dispute, he or she should consult his or her parenting plan, to see if there is a process he or she needs to follow before going to court. What a parent shouldn't do is try to take matters into his or her own hands, and wrongfully prevent the other parent from exercising his or her child custody and visitation rights. Doing so may cause more harm than good in the long run.

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