WomensLaw is not just for women. We serve and support all survivors, no matter their sex or gender.

Important: Even if courts are closed, you can still file for a protection order and other emergency relief. See our FAQ on Courts and COVID-19.

Legal Information: Washington


View all
December 3, 2020

What are the advantages and disadvantages of filing a parenting plan?

There are many reasons why you might choose not to file for a parenting plan. You may decide that you don’t want to get the courts involved or you may already have an informal agreement with the other parent that works well for you. You may think that going to court will provoke the other parent to seek more time with your child and more legal rights, which you do not want him/her to have.

However, in some cases, it may be a good idea to get a court-ordered parenting plan. For example, a parenting plan may reduce conflict with the other parent because the rights and responsibilities for each parent would be stated clearly in the plan.

Getting a parenting plan can give you:

  • the right to make decisions about your child;
  • the right to have your child live with you.1

It can also lay out clear guidelines on the following issues:

  • with which parent the child will live;
  • the amount of time the child will spend with each parent;
  • which parent will make major decisions about the child; and
  • how the parents will resolve major disagreements.2

A lawyer might be able to offer you advice about whether or not filing in court for a parenting plan is right for you.  To find a lawyer in your area, please see our WA Finding a Lawyer page.

1 R.C.W. § 26.09.184(2)
2 R.C.W. § 26.09.184