Courts handling Washington child custody cases should base their determinations regarding parental responsibilities on the best interests of the child. The court has broad discretion in determining the parenting plan. However, the court must place restrictions on a parent’s decision-making if it finds he or she has a history of domestic violence.
A Washington appeals court recently reversed a parenting plan that allowed joint decision-making despite a history of domestic violence. The parents divorced in 2014. The final parenting plan required the father to meet with a doctor to address domestic violence issues before his summer residential time with the children. The parenting plan also required him to get a certified evaluation regarding domestic violence and follow any treatment recommendations.
The plan also awarded the mother sole decision-making until the court heard from the domestic violence counselor or evaluator. The order provided that there would be joint decision-making after the father met the requirements regarding domestic violence.