Clement Law Center - Federal Way Family Law Attorney
Free Initial Consultation
253-336-3607
Our office is open. At Clement Law Center, the safety and wellbeing of our clients and employees come first. In response to COVID-19, court hearings and all conferences with client and prospective clients will be by phone. We are not conducting in-person court hearings or meetings. Our staff will often be working remotely during this time. Our office will be checking voicemail and will return client calls as soon as possible. We continue to offer free phone consultations.
We offer a 25% discount to First Responders and Health Care Workers
bg-banner-blog
Quality Representation & Individualized Advocacy You Can Depend On

What exactly does “in the best interests of the child” mean?

Agreeing on child custody terms can be a divisive and emotional task for Washington couples going through a divorce. Some parents come to terms by working together passively, or with the assistance of a mediator or legal counsel. Others may end up having to go to court and rely on a judge to order a decision.

No matter which way a custody order is agreed upon, there is a central question that should be considered during all negotiating or litigation: What serves the best interests of the child? That may sound straightforward on paper, but what exactly does it mean for parents?

Not every child’s needs are the same

Acting in the best interests of the child means choosing an arrangement that will support healthy growth, offer stability, foster happiness and promote good mental and emotional health. As every child is different and every family is unique, what serves the best interests of one child will not be the same for another. Because of the unique dynamics of all families, there is no one-size-fits-all custody plan for every family that needs one.

Shared custody is typically the preferred arrangement for most cases. However, there are times when sole custody, with or without visitation rights for the noncustodial parent, is appropriate. Several factors have to be considered before determining which custody terms will best benefit each family. Some of them include:

  • What the child desires
  • Any special care the child may need
  • Available living arrangements
  • Age of the child
  • Gender of the child
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • Any parental history of domestic, drug or alcohol abuse

Parents know their kids best and are often able to reach agreeable child custody terms without having to go to court. A judge, on the other hand, only gets to know a family on paper or through formal testimony, which is why so many factors are considered before a custody order is issued.

By considering the best interests of the child at each step, a custody plan can be created that truly matches a child’s needs. If those needs change over time, the state of Washington allows custody terms to be updated and adjusted as needed, so long as both parents agree on the new terms.

Start Your Free Consultation

Our Office Locations

Federal Way Office
31919 1st Avenue South, Suite 103
Federal Way, WA 98003

Toll Free:888-351-6779
Phone: 253-336-3607
Fax: 253-815-8458
Federal Way Office Location

Seattle Office
3418 NE 65th St., Suite A
Seattle, WA 98115

Toll Free: 888-351-6779
Phone: 253-336-3607
Fax: 253-815-8458
Seattle Office Location

Bellevue Office
14777 NE 40th Street, Suite 206
Bellevue, WA 98007

Toll Free: 888-351-6779
Phone: 253-336-3607
Fax: 253-815-8458
Bellevue Office Location
FindLaw Network