The Burke Law Group, PLLC
Old City Hall Building
221 N. Wall St., Suite 624
Spokane, WA 99201

Main Office: (509) 466-7770
Collaborative Law: (509) 999-6747

Parenting Plan

Washington State does not use the term “custody” with the policy that the term is too possessory. The parenting plans in this State use the term “placement” rather than custody or visitation. Washington is unusual in providing for a lengthy outline for placement and times each parent has with the child/children. Other states are not as specific in providing a road map for times with children. One must remember, however, that parenting plans are not the remedy for everything between parents and children. Rather, the courts and lawyers regard them as guidelines and more of a default to be regarded if an issue arises. The parenting plan provides for expectations for events and issues arising from relocation.

Parents should continue to review their plan for changes in environment, changes in ages of children and thus needs and changes in economics requiring placement changes. Parenting plans might address issues involving unacceptable behavior such as alcohol, drugs, or domestic violence. The bottom line is that parenting plans are not written in cement and are best changed over time especially if the child or children are young; however, making a major change is often difficult unless both parents cooperate for the best interest of the child/children.

Most parenting plans provide for mediation in the event there is a dispute unless there is domestic violence or the parents do not agree to mediate. Mediation works well for parenting issues because the parties are not limited by the court evidentiary and time constraints. Mediation can occur in more than one session and permits the parents to iron out the nuances in the parenting plan without the need for hostile declarations.

Meet Our Attorneys

Dena Allen

Principal / Member of the Firm, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Collaborative Law Divorce, Cooperative Divorce, Adoptions, Estate Planning, and Probate

John Burke

Of Counsel, practicing in Collaborative Law for Divorce, Uncontested Divorce and Estate Planning. On medical leave.

Matthew Fischer

Principal / Managing Member of the Firm, practicing in all areas of Family Law Litigation, Divorce and Uncontested Divorce. Also serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner

Cathy Helman

Associate Attorney, practicing in Appeals, Probate, Estate Planning, Family Law, and Bankruptcy. Also is an Administrative Law Judge Pro Tem with the Washington State Office of Administrative Hearings.

Joseph Linehan

Of Counsel, practicing in Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) appeals, Family Law Litigation, Divorce, and Dependency. Also serves as a Spokane County Superior Court Pro Tem Commissioner

Robin Schmahl

Senior Associate Attorney, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Uncontested Divorce, Estate Planning, Probate, and Guardianship

Rhylee Smith

Associate Attorney, admitted to practice in Washington and Idaho, practicing in all aspects of Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Support, and Modifications to Existing Orders

Kenneth Zigler, Jr.

Of Counsel, practicing in Family Law Litigation, Divorce, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and SSI benefits, and Lawsuits and Disputes including Personal Injury

Joanna Stranger

Rule 9 Intern, practicing in Family Law and Divorce