Fathers custody rights in the state of Washington

Asked over 6 years ago - Granite Falls, WA

What are a fathers rights in that state of WA? This couple isnt married,yet lived together and the mother has given the baby the fathers last name,since he is the father. The couple and child have resided together for the first 10 months as a family. Mother has moved out and has a new man. She continue to allow the father to have 4-5 days of visition per week, which he provides day care,diapers,food,clothing and furniture for his home and the mothers home. The other 2-3 days a week the mothers may keep the baby at her home until see is tired of dealing with the baby and returns her to the fathers home, a day earlier then agreed apon between the couple.Each time it is the mothers days to take care of the baby. she calls the father asking dumb question like how long does the baby sleep, how often do i give her attention and once the father starts to get worried and question the mother she threatens that if he keeps treating her like she isnt the baby's mother with a brain, that he will not have visitation anymore. The father is residing with his 75 yr old mother who has taken care of this baby full time since it was just 2-3 months old because the mother had more important things to do with her friends and it would be a week before she would return to home to even see her baby. I need advise on how to handle her threats now that she is living in her own home and yet the father and his mother(the grandmother) are basicly raising this baby. And when the baby is with her mom, it's a non stop worry because the mother isnt stable and she claims that the father has no rights and that his name isnt on the birth cert as the baby's dad, and the father has a copy of the cert with the child taken his last name. Its clear that the mother isnt around the baby enough or doesnt mother the baby right and yet she is the one making the decision for this baby that she may not be statble to do. This baby is her meal ticket or habit ticket and it's clear to the mothers group of friends and her family that she doesnt spend time with her child and trys to stage it as though the father and his mother (the grandmother) who cares for the baby full time,are hogging the baby from her. The mother of this child is living off the state of Wa and yet she's not a full time parent. How does this father handle this and does the father have any rights? Or does the father have the right to protect the baby's best interest and make sure she is cared for propertly.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Thuong-Tri Nguyen

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . The legal way to resolve disagreements between two unmarried parents regarding who will have the child when is to file the appropriate petition with the court.

    The free mandatory pattern forms for family law proceedings in WA are at http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/ . That site has links to instructions and self-help guides.

    If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan for their child, the court will make a parenting plan that is in the best interest of the child. With which parent the child will reside the majority of the time will depend on the particular facts of the parents. Keep in mind that if the court determines that living with neither parent is in the best interest of the child, the court has the power to place the child with some third party.

    Given that the proceeding likely will be a contested one, it may be more efficient to hire an attorney.

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