Parenting Plan Limitations Under Washington Law RCW 26.09.191

As a family law/divorce attorney in Vancouver, Clark County, WA, I am frequently asked in the course of my work how to limit the parenting plans for the other parent.  Washington law proscribes situations where the parenting time with a child can be limited by the court for a parent.  To be clear, these are very limited and specific circumstances and need to be proven to a court in order to be established.  I will summarize them at length, though the summary will be broken down into multiple segments.

Decision Making for Parents

​First, regarding decision making for parents in a permanent parenting plan, a permanent parenting plan shall not require mutual decision making(things like school, non-emergency healthcare, etc.) or a dispute resolution (something other than court action like arbitration, mediation)  if it is proven that a parent has engaged in any of the following acts: 1. Willful abandonment that continues for an extended period of time or substantial refusal to perform parenting functions; 2.  physical, sexual, or a pattern of emotional abuse of a child; or 3. a history of acts of domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010(3) or an assault or sexual assault that causes grievous bodily harm or the fear of such harm or that results in a pregnancy.

Washington State Law Considerations

​Second, Washington law requires that a parents time with their child be limited when it is proven to a court that the parent has engaged in (i) Willful abandonment that continues for an extended period of time or substantial refusal to perform parenting functions; (ii) physical, sexual, or a pattern of emotional abuse of a child; (iii) a history of acts of domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010(3) or an assault or sexual assault that causes grievous bodily harm or the fear of such harm or that results in a pregnancy; or (iv) the parent has been convicted as an adult of a sex offense under:

​(A) Rape of a Child in the Second Degree under RCW 9A.44.076 if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(B) Rape of a Child in the Third Degree under RCW 9A.44.079 if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(C) Child Molestation in the Second Degree under RCW 9A.44.086 if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(D) Child Molestation in the Third Degree under RCW 9A.44.089;
(E) Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the First Degree under RCW 9A.44.093;
(F) Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the Second Degree under RCW 9A.44.096;
(G) Incest in the First Degree under RCW 9A.64.020 (1) or Incest in the Second Degree under (2) if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(H) Sexual Exploitation of a child under Chapter 9.68A RCW;
(I) Any predecessor or antecedent statute for the offenses listed above in (a)(iv)(A) through (H) of this subsection;
(J) Any statute from any other jurisdiction that describes an offense analogous to the offenses listed in (a)(iv)(A) through (H) of this subsection.
 
This subsection (2)(a) shall not apply when (c) or (d) of this subsection applies.

Who You Reside With Also Matters

​Third, even if the parent did not do anything wrong, if a parent resides with a person who has engaged in any of the following conduct then as a matter of Washington law then their parenting time must be limited if: (i) Physical, sexual, or a pattern of emotional abuse of a child; (ii) a history of acts of domestic violence as defined in RCW 26.50.010(3) or an assault or sexual assault that causes grievous bodily harm or the fear of such harm or that results in a pregnancy; or (iii) the person has been convicted as an adult or as a juvenile has been adjudicated of a sex offense under:

(A) Rape of a Child in the Second Degree under RCW 9A.44.076 if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(B) Rape of a Child in the Third Degree under RCW 9A.44.079 if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(C) Child Molestation in the Second Degree under RCW 9A.44.086 if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(D) Child Molestation in the Third Degree under RCW 9A.44.089;
(E) Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the First Degree under RCW 9A.44.093;
(F) Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the Second Degree under RCW 9A.44.096;
(G) Incest in the First Degree under RCW 9A.64.020 (1) or Incest in the Second Degree under (2) if, because of the difference in age between the offender and the victim, no rebuttable presumption exists under (d) of this subsection;
(H) Sexual Exploitation of a child under Chapter 9.68A RCW;
(I) Any predecessor or antecedent statute for the offenses listed above in (a)(iv)(A) through (H) of this subsection;
(J) Any statute from any other jurisdiction that describes an offense analogous to the offenses listed in (a)(iv)(A) through (H) of this subsection.
This subsection (2)(a) shall not apply when (c) or (d) of this subsection applies.  This subsection (2)(b) shall not apply when (c) or (e) of this subsection applies.
 
If a parent has been found to be a sexual predator as stated under RCW 71.09 or under an analogous statute of any other jurisdiction, the court shall restrain the parent from contact with a child that would otherwise be allowed under this chapter.
 
If a parent resides with an adult or a juvenile who has been found to be a sexual predator under RCW 71.09or under an analogous statute of any other jurisdiction, the court shall restrain the parent from contact with the parent’s child except contact that occurs outside that person’s presence.

The next section will deal with the rebuttable presumption for parents or the person(s) they live with that have been convicted of certain sex offenses.
Parenting Plan Limitations Under Washington Law Part II