Co-Parenting in the Washington DC: Joint Custody Tips for Divorced Parents

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Custody and Parental Decisions

In the District of Columbia, the court will decide the custody arrangement of children based on the child’s welfare according to DC Code § 16-914. The court may grant either sole or joint custody to either parent, or order a shared custody arrangement. Sole or joint custody can be awarded to either parent, and it is important to note that the court cannot award custody based on gender. The court also has the power to make decisions regarding the child’s welfare if the two parents cannot agree, according to DC Code § 16-916.


Child Support

Child support is a form of financial support received by one parent to assist with expenses relating to the child. In the District of Columbia, child support is determined based on a formula established by the law, according to DC Code § 16-916. The formula considers the incomes of both parents and the number and ages of children, and it is important to note that the court cannot alter the formula unless the parties agree. Nevertheless, the court has the power to exempt either parent from paying child support if certain exceptions are met under specific circumstances.


Co-Parenting Expenses and Responsibilities

In the District of Columbia, both parents are financially responsible for the co-parenting expenses related to raising their children. According to the DC Code § 16-914, the court may order either parent to provide financial support for the necessary expenses, with the amount determined by the court taking into consideration the financial circumstances of each parent. In addition to financial support, both parents are responsible for any other decisions related to the children, such as health care, transportation, and educational decisions.


Visitation Rights and Parenting Plans

The District of Columbia recognizes visitation rights as an important part of co-parenting, according to DC Code § 16-914. The court may award visitation rights to either parent as part of a parenting plan. The visitation schedule should be based on the best interests of the child, which includes considering the child’s age, relationship to parent, and any other factors that would impact the child’s welfare. The parenting plan should lay out the specific parenting responsibilities of each parent, such as the decision-making authority, parent’s rates of communication and co-parenting in general.


Parent Rights and Parental Privacy

Parent rights are established in the District of Columbia to protect the parents and children involved in a co-parenting situation. According to the DC Code § 16-914, both parents retain their respective rights and responsibilities as custodial or noncustodial parents, and each parent must respect the rights and privacy of the other. This includes issues such as access to legal and medical records, attending court proceedings, and other decisions related to the child’s welfare.


Mediation and Dispute Resolution

In the District of Columbia, mediation is available to couples who are unable to resolve disputes regarding co-parenting arrangements. Mediation is designed to facilitate communication between parents, allowing them to work out an agreement about issues such as custody, visitation, parenting plans, and financial support. If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may intervene to make a ruling, according to DC Code § 16-914.



Co-parenting arrangements can be complicated, and it is important for parents to understand their legal rights and responsibilities. The District of Columbia has laws in place to ensure that the best interests of the child are taken into consideration when determining custody, support, and other decisions. Couples are advised to consider their situation and utilize the legal options available to them if disputes arise.


Fact Check and Resources

In crafting this post, we conducted thorough fact-checking and research, consulting the following sources:


Co-parenting in USA


Co-parenting in Canada


Warning:  This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.

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