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Legal Information: Washington

Custody

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Updated: 
December 3, 2020

If the abusive parent committed domestic violence or a sex offense, can the abusive parent get residential parenting time?

If the judge believes that the abusive parent has done anything listed in one of the four categories below, the abusive parent’s residential time with the child must be limited. The judge must believe that the abusive parent:

  1. committed physical abuse, sexual abuse, or a pattern of emotional abuse against a child;
  2. has a history of committing acts of domestic violence (as defined by law);
  3. committed an assault or sexual assault that resulted in:
  4. was convicted as an adult of a sex offense as follows:
    1. if s/he was convicted of one of the sex offenses listed here in section (2)(a), the judge could limit residential time;1
    2. if s/he was convicted of one of the more serious sex offenses listed here in section (2)(d), the judge has to assume that the parent is a danger to the child and cannot allow contact between the parent and child unless the parent is able to convince the judge otherwise;
    3. if s/he was designated to be a sexual predator, the judge cannot allow contact with the child.2

The types of limitations that a judge can order on a parent’s residential time include:

  • completion of relevant counseling/treatment for the parent;
  • supervised contact between the child and the parent; or
  • no contact between the child and the parent (if the judge believes that the other limitations would not protect the child from harm or abuse).3

1 R.C.W. § 26.09.191(2)(a)
2 R.C.W. § 26.09.191(2)(c),(d)
3 R.C.W. § 26.09.191(2)(m)(i)