How Child Custody is Determined by Lawyers in Bellevue, WA

April 23, 2022

The law in the United States, especially in Bellevue, Washington is incredibly strict about child welfare. More than 23 million American children are currently living with a single parent. That’s why child custody proceedings can be very complex. If you too are fighting a divorce case and there are younger kids (below 18) involved, then there will be issues at every step of the proceeding. Only a professional child custody attorney can get you through the complexity of these cases.

For parents, this entire journey can be nerve-wracking, as they don’t have any clue about the possible outcomes of a child custody case. To gain that perspective, you need to learn the basics of a child custody case, including types of custody, factors that affect visitation rights, and the overall outcome.

Types of Child Custody in Bellevue

To be exact, there is no fixed categorization of Child Custody in Bellevue. Every custody case is different and so is the requirement of the children. However, when going for custody, there will be two divisions that you need to look for:

Physical custody: When a parent is awarded physical custody of the child, then it means he/she is going to stay with that parent. There will be only a periodical interaction or visitation with the other parent in this case. Practically, it is a win-win for you if you are getting physical custody of your children.

Legal custody: When a parent receives legal custody of the child, it means they have the right and obligation to make all the decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. These decisions may include the selection of school, planning for further education, health care, religious education, and even financial choices regarding the kids. Most times, both parents receive legal custody of the children.

These custody rulings can work in four different ways:

  • You will receive the sole legal as well as sole physical custody of the child.
  • You will receive sole physical custody and legal joint custody.
  • You will receive joint physical custody as well as legal custody of the child
  • You will receive joint physical custody and sole legal custody.

If both the spouses are found fit to be around your child, then they get joint physical and legal custody of the child. In case, one parent is somewhat absent from the child’s life due to work and other arrangements, then the physical custody goes to one parent, but both can have legal custody.

In other cases, if one of the parents is short-tempered or violent around the child, they get neither physical nor legal custody. Keeping the circumstances in mind, the judge might arrange a visitation schedule so that the kid can enjoy the company of both parents.

If one parent wants to deny even the visitation right to the other parent, there have to be extraordinary circumstances and solid proof; for example, mental illness or any kind of abuse. Still, there have been cases, where the court allows visitation to parents with mental illness with special supervision.

Factors Determining Bellevue Child Custody

When deciding over a child’s custody, many factors come together. For instance, parents’ mental and physical health, the kid’s choice, their parent’s wishes, the level of adjustment that the children will have to undergo in terms of home, school environment, and community & neighborhood. Let’s study these factors one by one:

How Do Parents Want to Settle?

On average, more than 90% of custody cases are settled with the parent’s agreement. Both parents can decide among themselves who the kids are going to live with and who will make the important decision in the child’s life. Once you two have reached a common ground, you can either make it legal by going to the court or just trust each other for sticking to the arrangement and schedules.

The parents can pursue the court ruling, with or without a Child Custody Lawyer in Bellevue, and receive an order reflecting the mutual agreement. If both parents can conclude amicably, it’s good for everyone, including the kids.

Yet there are frequent cases, where it’s difficult for the parents to reach a common ground. For any such cases, the judge has to decide on the welfare of the child.

Guiding Principals

When the court determines a child’s welfare, it has to fulfill the purpose and objective without even the slightest error. To do so, it takes into notice the guiding principles for child custody. Some of the most frequently considered guiding principles are:

  • In a Bellevue Divorce Process, the children get massively affected. To minimize the trauma, the court makes sure that kids have to do the minimal adjustment. The foremost priority of the court is to maintain family integrity. Until it’s the only option, the judge will let the kid be in the same house he/she is already living in.
  • The second consideration is the health, protection, and safety of the children. Both the parents will be constantly tested for their ability to provide for their kid’s emotional and physical needs. The court will inspect deeply to find out which parent is capable of ensuring the safety and health of the children. Evidence on this issue may come in the form of testimony from close relatives, friends, and neighbors.
  • In case the kids are being moved from their existing house, the court makes sure he/she is being provided with an adequate environment to grow. The authorities will ensure that the kids are being provided with love, care, treatment (if needed), and even proper career guidance.

Kid’s Preference

The court is supposed to decide the custody based on the best interest of the child; and, so they might call for a private conversation with the kids. During this arrangement, your kids might be asked about how they feel about you and the other parent.

This is to determine whom the kids feel closer to and with whom they would like to stay. To verify the conversation and the choices of the children, the court might require some additional pieces of evidence such as testimonials from school teachers.

It is only after a complete analysis that the court decides whether they want to go with the kid’s favorite or not. However, the preference is given only according to the child’s age and the quality of reasons.

As a parent do not try to focus on what your child is going to say in court, rather be at your best when it comes to taking care of the little ones.

Parent’s Living Condition

Once you are in court for Child Custody in Bellevue, every aspect of your life will come under the scanner. The court only wants to ensure that kids are in safe hands and to ensure that they will not leave any stone unturned. Some factors that they might consider are:

To ensure that the child has a proper place for living, custody is often awarded only to the parent who has access to proper housing. Most times the court doesn’t want to move the children from where he is living so the custody goes to the parent who has been awarded the family residence.

Even if you have a better living facility than where the child is already living, the court will take into consideration things like proximity to the school, how fond he is of the other parents, etc.

  • Parent’s relationship with the children

One of the first things that the court will notice about you is whether you are willing to provide for the kids or not. They will also do a complete check on how involved you were with the kids before filing the divorce case. For example, parents who are living in other states, or have a job that does not allow them to spend much time with the children would have minimum chances of gaining custody.

  • Parent’s willingness to cooperate with the other spouse

Whatever the court rules out, both parents must be agreeing to the decision. But there are cases where one parent keeps on disagreeing with the ruling and that may cause trouble for the spouse as well as their children. During the hearing procedure, the court will have a keen eye on whether you are ready to cooperate or not.

Abuse and Neglect

In case a parent has been reported to be abusive towards the kid, the court will award the custody of another parent. Even if limited visitation rights are provided, it may be done under strict supervision.

While these are some common criteria to be taken into consideration in determining the custody of your child, some specific factors are always observed.

Be aware that you could be facing a serious charge of child abuse and neglect from Child Protective Services (CPS).  These reports are very serious and CPS can be very damaging to your case.  If CPS gets involved, which they often are and are asked by the court to review your living situation and parental abilities, then this could mean that your case is going to get dragged out and fought over for a very long time.

If you are facing CPS, do not face them alone.  We at The Aberdeen Law Firm can help you.

How The Child Custody Lawyers at Aberdeen Law Firm Can Help

If you are looking for help in obtaining custody of your child in Bellevue, we can help.  We are amazing strategists when it comes to not only obtaining custody of your child, but also keeping your legal fees down since we have observed over the years that child custody cases are by far the most expensive kind of cases for our clients.  If you are going through a child custody battle, do not go through it alone.  Our Child Custody Lawyers have the experience and resources to help you overcome this legal obstacle.

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