When Washington parents decide to end their marriage, dealing with child custody matters can be one of the most emotionally draining tasks. Kids themselves may have a hard time with the divorce, and many parents may feel as if the system is stacked against them. These feelings of frustration can multiply if a parent learns that a child custody or child support hearing has been scheduled for an inconvenient or inaccessible place and time. Whether the parent is traveling, has an unavoidable work conflict or has moved out of state, there are many reasons why it may be difficult or impossible to attend a hearing in person on a specific day.
There are a few options for parents to keep in mind to help protect their rights and their involvement with their children. In some cases, a parent who cannot be present with a documented, verified reason may be able to participate in the hearing remotely via phone or video connection. Most child custody hearings are not lengthy and the parents may not be expected to provide extensive testimony. Most only last 15 minutes to half an hour, so the judge may be willing to allow remote participation.
Parents could also file a request to change the time and date of a hearing that they are unable to attend. They can make a motion to alter the time while presenting evidence of the schedule conflict. Plane tickets or a letter from the parent’s employer could help to document a planned absence.
A family law attorney may be able to help a parent navigate the challenging child custody system. Counsel’s advice and guidance can help clients achieve a fair resolution and a workable parenting plan.