HB 1554 addresses sole decision-making authority and mutual decision-making authority in a parenting plan. The bill would prohibit a court from presuming that a parent, solely because of his or her sex, is more qualified than the other parent to engage in parenting functions or from providing more residential time with the child. The bill would require the court to submit written findings stating its reasons, including the facts and evidence considered, supporting any finding that sole decision making is in the best interest of the child. The bill also states that it is in the best interest of the child to establish an equal residential schedule that provides each parent with equal time and contact with the child unless otherwise agreed upon by both parents.
The bill additionally amends current statute to make the handbook explaining the sections of Washington law pertaining to the rights and responsibilities of marital partners to each other and to any children during a marriage and dissolution of marriage easily available and accessible.