Domestic violence can affect all aspects of family life, including child custody. Pursuant to RCW 26.09.191(1)(c), a final parenting plan cannot require the parents to engage in mutual decision-making where the court finds a parent engaged in a history of domestic violence. A mother recently appealed a court order granting the father sole decision-making after the court found he had a history of domestic violence.
A few days after the father filed for divorce, the mother called 911 and reported a domestic assault. The father told police she had attacked him. The mother was arrested and a criminal no-contact order was issued to prevent her from contacting the father or going to the family home. The father also obtained a temporary restraining order preventing her from contacting him or their children.
Each party petitioned for a domestic violence protection order (DVPO) as part of the divorce proceeding. The court reissued the father’s temporary restraining order, but removed the children from it. It also reissued the mother’s temporary DVPO. The court granted the mother weekend residential time with the children and appointed a guardian ad litem.