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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Establishing Custody and Setting Up a Parenting Plan

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Washington.

    Here is a synopsis.

    1.) We're not married and she moved out with my 3 kids with zero notice.
    2.) No parenting plan or anything is currently in place.
    3.) She just informed me that she has an attorney and is filing a Parenting Plan with the court and that the "judge will decide what is in the best interests of the children".
    4.) She states that her attorney has advised her to not allow me to see my children until the Parenting Plan is approved.


    a.) I think all of the paternity affidavidavits were completed at the time of birth of all three children, but I will check into this with the State and am I correct to assume that I should get this taken care of immediately (as a first step) if I am missing one on one of the children? (I suspect we may have never filed this form on one of my children.)

    b.) What are my rights in regards to this parenting plan? Should I prepare and submit my own? I have asked why we can't just do this ourselves and she said no - her lawyer is preparing it and the judge will decide. How much input am I going to be able to have on this (i.e., they days and times I can see my kids, opting for 50/50 custody as opposed to just visitation, etc.)?

    c.) What are my rights in regards to visitation right now with nothing in place? What can I do to see my kids. Who knows how long this process might take. I talk to them on the phone, but she won't provide me with their address or allow me to see them. Is this legal? What would lead an attorney to suggest this, as I find it quite odd.

    d.) Is there a way to find out what, if anything has been filed with the courts, on her and their behalf?

    e.) Where do I begin navigating this process. I cannot currently (nor in the forseeable future) afford an attorney to represent me. I have no choice but to do this all myself.

    Please assist me. Any and all advice, help, resource and input is very much appreciated.

    Thank you!

    A confused and sad Dad. I just want to see my kids.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Minneapolis/St. Paul area

    Smile Re: Parentig Plan/General Custody Questions in Washington State

    Have you been served with anything? In particualar, have you received a copy of an order granting her temporary custody? If not, you should probably file a request immediately with the courts. You can give her temporary guardianship, if you decide to, but you can include a temp visitation order too, that will work until the actual hearing. Until then, she can withhold the kids from you. However, as long as you document all of your attempts to contact and see the kids, this tact will most likely backfire against her in court.

    As for a parenting plan, you will most definetely want to submit your own. You can do it before your ex, or you can wait until you receive hers and then respond with the changes that you want. Just because she may file first does not mean that you have to accept everything she wants, nor does it mean that a judge will grant her everything.

    Normally, if anything has been filed in cases like this, the opposing party is served with a copy. But if it helps your anxiety level, by all means contact the court clerk and ask if anything has been filed against you or in connection with you and/or your children.

    Also, many attorneys offer low cost or free consultations. You should at least seek that out. And don't forget to inquire about legal aid within your county state. Depending upon your circumstances, you may qualify. If at all possible, find a lawyer. It is never a good idea to try to take on attorney by yourself.

    Best of luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Somewhere near Canada

    Default Re: Parentig Plan/General Custody Questions in Washington State

    Dad can't offer temporary guardianship in a case like this - he doesn't have the right to do that at the moment. Even if he did though I think that would be a grave mistake - he'd basically be agreeing that he's fine with Mom being perhaps the sole custodian. Also, with no visitation order in place, it's unlikely that Mom refusing visitation will be held against her although refusing to tell him where they are may well get her dinged.

    In WA, we're pretty heavy on parenting plans - by all means, OP, submit your own but be prepared for the court to send you both to mediation first (we're pretty heavy on that too ).

    This is just an FYI: the courts will not release any information pertaining to any minor named in a civil case; it does, however, become public record when the adults start filing back and forth in a custody case So the question to ask the clerk would pertain to he and Mom, not the kids.

    You can find info on parenting plans right here, and on paternity etc. here.

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