Entertainment Love and Romance Child Custody in Washington, D.C. Familiarize Yourself with Child Custody Laws in the District of Columbia Share PINTEREST Email Print Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images Love and Romance Divorce Relationships Sexuality Teens LGBTQ Friendship By Debrina Washington Family law attorney and writer University of Pittsburgh School of Law Skidmore College Debrina L. Washington is a New York-based family law attorney and writer, who runs her own virtual practice to assist single parents with legal issues. our editorial process Debrina Washington Updated May 23, 2019 Washington, D.C. uses several criteria to determine child custody laws. Primarily, the court will determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Washington, D.C. should first become familiar with the custody statutes. Best Interests of Child Child custody in Washington, D.C. is determined based on the best interests of the child. Factors included in determining a child's best interests are: The child's wishes, if the child is of a sufficient age and capacity to make a reasoned decision (age 12 or older)Each parent's wishesThe child's adjustment to school, home, and communityThe mental and physical health of all individuals involvedThe child's relationship with his/her parents, siblings and extended family membersThe geographical proximity of the parents' homesEach parent's ability to communicate with one another and make decisions that affect the childThe demands of each parent's employment The Use of a Parenting Plan in Washington, D.C. In making a custody determination, a District of Columbia court may require both parents to submit a parenting plan to the court to explain the rights and responsibilities of each parent concerning the rearing of the child. A parenting plan may include information concerning: The child's educationThe residence of the childVisitation (holidays, weekends, or summer vacations)Religious trainingCommunication between the child and the child's parents Joint Child Custody in Washington, D.C. A court in the District of Columbia assumes that joint custody is in the best interests of the child unless there's a history of child abuse, neglect, parental kidnapping or family violence. In determining an award of joint custody, a District of Columbia court will consider: The parenting plans submitted to the courtWhich parent will make major decisions concerning the health, safety, and welfare of the childWhether the parents should attend a parenting class For more information about child custody in Washington, D.C., speak with a qualified attorney in Washington, D.C. or refer to the District of Columbia Domestic Relations statute.