WASHNIGTON Supreme Court Weighs in on Judicial Bias in Parenting Plan
Marriage of Black, __W2d __ (4/6/17)
The trial court incorporated many of the GAL’s recommendations in designating the father as the residential parent of three boys, awarding him sole-decision making and restricting the mother, a lesbian, from discussing religion, homosexuality, and "other alternative lifestyle concepts" with her children. The court also denied the mother spousal maintenance. The mother appealed. The Division Two Court affirmed the ruling with the exception of the imposed restraints. The mother petitioned for review and the Supreme Court unanimously reversed and remanded with instructions for a different judge.
"The trial court here failed to remain neutral regarding Rachelle' s sexual orientation and impermissibly favored Charles' religious beliefs. Further, evidence of bias permeated the proceedings. We reverse.”
Washington's Child Relocation Act & Joint Parenting Plans
Ruff v Worthley, __WnApp __ (Div II, 3/28/17)
The parties 2009 parenting plan provided for equal or substantially equal residential time and designed both parents as joint legal and physical custodians with equal decision making authority. Five years later the father filed a notice of intended relocation. A first judge ruled the joint parenting plan required the father to petition for modification and pass the adequate cause test. The father did that, but the petition was dismissed by a second judge for failure to show adequate cause. The father appealed. The Division Two court unanimously affirmed the decision.
"We therefore conclude that the CRA does not apply to a proposed relocation that would modify the joint parenting plan’s joint and equal residential time to something other than joint and equal residential time"
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