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When Washington parents divorce, they must each propose a co-parenting plan regarding any and all custody, visitation and child support issues that pertain to their family. When the court ultimately issues an order, both parents must adhere to the terms. It’s always a good idea, however, to keep all relevant documents on hand, as well as contact information for legal support, in case any custody and parenting problems surface later on, as seems to be the case for Jon and Kate Gosselin, the former reality TV stars of “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”

The Gosselins captured the hearts of many fans in Washington and across the country when they aired their daily lives as parents of twins and sixtuplets for all to see. The couple divorced nearly a decade ago, but Jon Gosselin has recently filed papers that has the former couple heading back to court. He is seeking sole custody of their 14-year-old son, who is currently residing at an inpatient facility.

The boy reportedly has special needs but is scheduled to be released from his inpatient program just before Christmas. He recently spent a holiday with his sister and dad. Time will tell whether the court awards physical and legal custody to the boy’s father although such cases often can take some time to resolve.

Physical custody, of course, refers to the physical residence of the child in question. Legal custody, on the other hand, pertains to decision-making authority where matters of health, education, religion and other important topics are concerned. As made evident by the Gosselins’ current custody and parenting dispute, there is no guarantee that an existing court order will remain in effect indefinitely. Washington parents should be aware, however, that unless and until the court changes an existing order, it remains valid and the court may find a parent in contempt for noncompliance.