Jane Smith is a fictional Washington robber whose hypothetical problem will sound familiar to many divorced parents. Jane absolutely disapproves of someone for whom her ex-husband, John Smith, cares for their child during John & # 39; s residency. John sometimes dismisses a child with his cousin Schmah, a bad person. Cousin Schmo smokes, has fun and recently committed two DUIs. Jane wants to know if she can veto Cousin Schmo as a carer.
This article answers Jane's question from the perspective of a Washington divorce attorney. This article describes 1) the general rule of Washington law, 2) the provisions of a joint parenting plan that modify the general rule of Washington, 3) the legal process necessary to adopt a parental care provision regarding a caregiver in Washington, and 4) more extreme remedies for difficult situations.
1. General rule . Unfortunately for Jane, the case law of Washington, for the most part, gives each parent the right to determine who is caring for their carer while staying with their child. The Washington Court of Appeals, Division I, linked this rule to Magnusson v. Johannesson , 108 Wash.App. 109 (2001), writing as follows: "(o) as usual, the parent may designate other caregivers, although the parent plan does not provide a specific finding or conclusion on the subject."
2 Common Provisions for Amending the General Rule . Several types of provisions change this general rule when enrolled in a parental plan. The most common in Washington are a) "right of first refusal" and b) special carer exemptions.
А. Right to first refusal . "Right to first refusal" is a relatively simple concept. Before either parent can use the guardian, the parent must offer the other parent the opportunity to care for the child during this time. Judges usually add the first opt-out clause to their parenting plan if asked to do so when formulating the plan. A divorcing parent worried about a scenario similar to Jane's should seriously consider seeking the right to a first refusal.
B. Specific exemptions for carers . Janer's parenting plan may also limit John's choice by specifically naming and banning a potential caregiver suspected of being dangerous. The potential guardian's exemption is less frequent than the right to refuse a fist, and courts typically do not allow this type of exclusion clause by absent evidence of the alleged danger that a potential guardian may pose.
3. Adding one of these provisions . If Jane's parenting plan does not contain one of the above provisions, she may ask the court to add it in accordance with RCW 09/26/260. Adding one of these provisions implies a "minor modification" of the parenting plan. A small change of this type requires Jane to demonstrate a significant, relevant change in circumstances that occurred after the writing of the parenting plan. A significant change in Jane's case could be Cousin Schmo's two recent DUIs.
4. More extreme remedies . Finally, Jane also has more extreme options if the situation becomes quite difficult. Jane could file a child abuse report with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, Department of Child Welfare, by calling 1-866-363-4276 Or Jane could ask for a protective order or restriction. These types of extreme calculations usually remain limited to situations in which the caregiver is seriously endangering or harming the child's well-being.
Although the general rule in Washington does not favor Jane, she has numerous options for solving her problems, depending on their severity and feasibility.