Example Parenting Plan for Infant | WA

Example Parenting Plan for Infant | WA

–by Sam Darling, Family Law Attorney at Genesis Law Firm

In Washington State, courts typically structure parenting plans for infants differently from those for older children. This is for several reasons:Infant Parenting Plan

  1. Babies need more frequent interactions with both parents in order to remember and bond with them;
  2. Breastfeeding often necessitates constant interaction with the mother; and
  3. Very young children have a strong desire for familiarity.

This means Washington’s infant parenting plans tend to share the following characteristics:

  1. Primary care to the mother, particularly if breastfeeding and she does not present a danger to the child;
  2. Short yet frequent visits with the non-primary care parent, usually the father;
  3. No overnights with the non-primary care parent; and
  4. A multi-staged residential schedule that, as the child ages, transitions into a more normal parenting schedule, such as ‘every-other weekend’ or ‘joint custody’.

The following is example language from an infant parenting plan that transitions into an ‘every-other-weekend’ schedule:

EXAMPLE LANGUAGE FROM SECTIONS 3.1 – 3.6 OF PARENTING PLAN

3.1 Schedule for Children Under School Age.

The child shall reside with Mother, except for the following days and times when the child shall reside with or be with the other parent:

Stage 1 (Child Under 1-Year Old): Every day from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Additionally, Father may visit the child at Mother’s home every morning from 8:30 am to 8:45 am if Father’s work schedule permits.

Stage 2 (Child 1-2 Years Old): Every weekday from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, and every Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm.

Stage 3 (Child 3+ years Old): Every weekend from 5:30 pm Friday to 5:30 pm Saturday, and every Wednesday from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

3.2 School Schedule.

The child shall reside with Mother, except for the following days and times when the child shall reside with or be with the other parent:

Every-other weekend from 5 pm Friday until 5 pm Saturday, and every Wednesday evening from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

3.3 Winter Vacation.

Stage 1 (Child Under 1-Year Old): Same as stage 1 from section 3.1, above.

Stage 2 (Child 1-2 Years Old): Same as stage 2 from section 3.1, above.

Stage 3 (Child 3-School Age): Beginning in [state the school year, such as “the 2015-2016 school year”], the child shall reside with Father from the day school lets out until December 26th, and then from December 27th until return to school the following school year, alternating back and forth each ensuing school year. During Father’s residential time, he shall return the child to Mother every night at 5 pm, and Mother shall return the child to Father every morning at 9 am. Winter vacation shall begin and end according to the school schedule of the public district where Mother resides.

Stage 4 (School Age): Beginning in [state the school year, such as “the 2018-2019 school year”], the child shall reside with Father from the time school lets out until December 26th at 9 am, and then from December 26th at 9 am until return to school the following school year, alternating back and forth each ensuing school year.

3.4 Other School Breaks.

The child shall reside with Mother except for the following days and times when the child shall reside with or be with the other parent:

Stage 1 (Child Under 1-Year Old): Same as stage 1 from section 3.1, above.

Stage 2 (Child 1-2 Years Old): Same as stage 2 from section 3.1, above.

Stage 3 (Child 3-School Age): The child shall reside with Father from the first day of spring break until return to school in odd-numbered calendar years, and from the first day of mid-winter break (if any) until return to school in even-numbered calendar years. During Father’s residential time, he shall return the child to Mother every night at 5 pm, and Mother shall return the child to Father every morning at 9 am. These school breaks shall begin and end according to the school schedule of the public district where Mother resides.

Stage 4 (School Age): The child shall reside with Father from the first day of spring break until return to school in odd-numbered calendar years, and from the first day of mid-winter break (if any) until return to school in even-numbered calendar years. The school breaks shall begin and end according to the school schedule of the public district where Mother resides.

3.5 Summer Schedule.

Same as section 3.1, above.

3.6 Vacation with Parents.

Stage 1 (Child Under 1-2 Year Old): None.

Stage 2 (Child 3-School Age): Each calendar year each parent may exercise 2 non-sequential vacations with the child of up to 48 total hours per vacation. A parent wishing to schedule a vacation must do so by notifying the other parent in writing (including email) at least 60 days in advance. If both parents select the same vacation date(s), Mother’s selection shall govern in even-numbered calendar years and Father’s in odd.

Stage 3 (School Age): Each calendar year each parent may exercise 2 one-week vacations with the child, which may be taken sequentially. A parent wishing to schedule a vacation must do so by notifying the other parent in writing (including email) at least 60 days in advance. If both parents select the same vacation date(s), Mother’s selection shall govern in even-numbered calendar years and Father’s in odd. Vacation must not interfere with the child’s school attendance, though a parent may schedule vacation during school if the child still attends his or her regular classes.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS REGARDING INFANT PARENTING PLANS

Infant parenting plans vary widely, and parents should not hesitate to deviate from the example language our firm has provided. Just try to follow the guidelines listed at the beginning of this article.

Also of note, you may want to modify our example language substantially if the parents live long distances from each other, want to share custody equally (i.e., “joint custody”), or a parent presents a danger to the child. We have another article/video that provides simple examples of various types of parenting plans. You can find the article/video, as well as many others, within the ‘resources’ section of our website. From everyone here at Genesis, we wish you the best with your family law matter.

Recent Posts