Seattle and Tacoma Child Custody Modification Attorneys

Working for the best results for you and your child

Mark Johnson Family Law Attorney

Mark Johnson
Senior Family Law Attorney

Upon a divorce involving children or a finding of paternity, the Washington family courts will issue a custody and parenting plan order. This parenting plan will set out specific guidelines for many parenting issues, including the residential schedules of the child. You must return to court if you wish to modify this plan in the future, and you must follow certain procedures and meet certain requirements to do so.

If you wish to seek a modification of a parenting plan or child custodial decree, it is always important to have the assistance of a child custody attorney who has experience in this type of case. If you are in the Seattle or Tacoma areas, please do not hesitate to call the Dickson Law Group at (206) 621-1110 or (253) 572-1000 for a free 15-minute phone consultation to discuss your case.

Substantial change in circumstances

In order for a court to approve a child custody modification, Washington law requires a finding by the court that there has been a substantial change in circumstances that warrants the modified order. Examples of substantial changes in circumstances may include:

  • The parents’ agreement that a modification is warranted.
  • A sudden detriment to the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health or well-being in the present environment
  • The custodial parent has allowed the child to reside mostly with the non-custodial parent
  • The court has held the nonmoving parent in contempt of court at least two times in the past three years for refusal to comply with the original custodial order or parenting plan

Best interests of the child

In addition to finding there has been a substantial change in circumstances, state law requires a court to find that the custody modification will be in the best interests of the child. The court may consider numerous factors in determining the best interests of the child, including:

  • The age of the child
  • The wishes of the child
  • Any history of domestic abuse from either parent
  • The relationships with each parent
  • The importance of the child’s current community, school, and residence
  • Any special needs of the child and the ability of each parent to meet them

These are only a few factors the court may consider. As you can see, modifying a child custody order or parenting plan is not a simple undertaking. In order to ensure you receive the results that are best for your and your child, you should call the Dickson Law Group for assistance at (206) 621-1110 or (253) 572-1000 today.