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December 3, 2020

Can the judge restrict the parenting plan based on the conduct of the other parent?

Even once a parenting plan is in place, the law recognizes that a parent’s involvement or actions can have a negative effect on the child’s best interests. The judge can limit or remove any parts of the parenting plan if any of the following factors exist:

  1. a parent has neglected their parenting functions or not performed them in a substantial way;
  2. a parent has a long-term physical or emotional condition that interferes with his/her performance of parenting functions;
  3. a parent has a long-term drug or alcohol dependency that interferes with his/her performance of parenting functions;
  4. there is no emotional tie between the parent and the child or it is substantially damaged;
  5. a parent purposefully creates conflict, including abusive litigation as defined in R.C.W. 26.51.020, which creates the danger of serious damage to the child’s psychological development.1

“Parenting functions” include:

  1. maintaining a loving, stable, consistent, and nurturing relationship with the child;
  2. attending to the daily needs of the child, such as feeding, clothing, physical care and grooming, supervision, health care, and day care;
  3. doing other activities that are appropriate to the developmental level of the child and that are within the social and economic circumstances of the particular family;
  4. providing an adequate education for the child, including remedial or other education that the child needs;
  5. helping the child in developing and maintaining appropriate interpersonal relationships;
  6. exercising appropriate judgment regarding the child’s welfare, consistent with the child’s developmental level and the family’s social and economic circumstances; and
  7. providing for the financial support of the child.2

1 R.C.W. § 26.09.191(3)
2 R.C.W. § 26.09.004(2)