I'm 20, married, & about 7 months pregnant (it's a boy, plan to breastfeed) & my husband & I have only been married for 10 months. Lately we've been fighting a lot. He's shown his true colors & is very verbally, mentally, & emotionally abusive towards me. I already have mental issues due to how I was raised & his outbursts cause me to have panic attacks & hyperventilate. I can't control it. We've always made up after our fights no matter how long it lasted. Then he'd go back to being sweet & silly & everything would be fine. But now, the fighting is nonstop & it puts me over the edge. He tells me that he wants a divorce & that he will take our son & I will be left with nothing. Once my son's born, will I have immediate custody? How can I make sure I get sole custody if we end up divorcing?
Washington is a pro-family state, encouraging divorced couples to both have an active role in the upbringing of their child. Washington does not use the terms custody of a child, but instead urges parents to come up with a "Parenting Plan". A parenting plan is typically used, however if the parties cannot come up with a plan together, a judge will often decide the matter for the parties depending on the best interest of the child (BIOC). The fact that you are pregnant does not ensure you automatically receive custody of your child.
In a proceeding calling into question what the BIOC is, courts will look towards who is best equipped to handle the child's emotional, physical, and educational needs. Courts also look towards a parents willingness to help the relationship between the child and the other parent. At this point, one parent will be appointed as a "primary residential parent", and the parenting plan will then typically award more time with the child to that parent. The plan will outline when the child will be with each parent, who the child will spend holidays with, and how the child will be transported between parents.
Unless it can be proven that your husband is completely unfit to patent, however, it is likely that he will receive some form of a "shared residential schedule", meaning both you and your husband will have time with the child. Typically, in a parenting plan hearing, you must be able to prove that any interaction with your husband would not be in the best interest of the child. Courts will balance his behavior, his willingness to change as a parent, your ability to provide support by yourself, and many other things to determine if a "sole custody" situation is best. To better understand how you can receive "sole custody", refer to the link posted.
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