My daughter and ex boyfriend have shared custody of kids via verbal agreement. He has decided to file custody papers and keep her from seeing the kids. Can he legally keep her from kids? Washington state
1 Answer from Attorneys
The short answer is no. The longer answer is "it depends." It depends on what is the basis for the boyfriend seeking to deny any visitation or custody with the children for your daughter.
Without knowing any details or facts of your daughter's case, I can tell you that in general, the policy of the courts in Washington is to set up a residential schedule and custody orders that are most beneficial to the children. In general, whatever the status quo for the children was, will be what the court will seek to maintain to the extent possible so as to make the minimal amount of disruption in the children's lives as necessary.
Sometimes though, that is not possible, and what ends up happening is that the children's lives end up in upheaval along with their parents. I encourage you—if you are in a position to help your daughter—to at least pay for a consultation (and many of them are free for initial consultations) with local counsel who can go over the particular facts of your situation and at least give you a reasonable idea of what your daughter is facing based on the particular facts of her case.
Also, it may help for you to know that in the majority of cases, they do not go to trial because both sides work out a settlement. Hopefully, the same can happen for your daughter. I always tell clients to the extent possible, if we can work something out by agreement, we at least know the deal we are getting when we agree to it. On the other hand, if the other side is completely unreasonable, we have no choice but to let the person in black robes make a decision for us. The downside to that is that one or both sides may be incredibly unhappy with the decision that comes out because the person in the black robes (i.e., the judge) may have very different ideas from what either parent thinks is a good idea.