Asked 8 months ago - Mount Vernon, WAFlag
My ex-wife and I share even custody of our child. She has moved multiple times recently without giving notice of her relocation or providing her address. She relinquished multiple months of her visitation last year, sometimes without notice, always without good cause ("didn't feel up to it," "just can't do it right now"). I regrettably did not report it, although I have childcare receipts from that time period showing when I had the child residing with me and I have multiple witnesses. She has also refused to communicate with me about non-emergency health care decisions and the parenting plan says we are to make those decisions jointly.
RCW 26.09.260(2)(d) specifically lists 2 contempt findings in three years for failure to comply with the parenting plan as grounds for modification, but you don't necessarily need formal contempt to succeed in modification. Section (4) of that statute says that the court can reduce contact between the child and the parent with whom the child does not reside a majority of the time if it would be in the child's best interests according to the criteria of RCW 26.09.191, which includes substantial nonperformance of parenting functions as a reason to restrict involvement. Please understand that these are all complicated issues, and if you want to proceed you should really consult an attorney about your particular case.
Yes, you have grounds, but the question maybe posed -- why did you let this go on for so long. It can be argued that you have constructively consented to the moves and her actions by not taking action. The doctrine of laches sometimes applies in these cases. You will need the assistance of an attornry to explain all of this.
Certainly, if you feel the current custody arrangement isn't in your child's best interests, you should at least take a minute to have a confidential consultation with a local attorney to explore the situation in confidential detail. Thereafter, that attorney will be in a position to guide you. You can find local attorneys by searching among the profiles here on Avvo. Good luck!
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