How does the Washington Residential Time Summary Report work?

Understanding the Washington Residential Time Summary Report

The Washington Residential Time Summary Report, often integral to family law proceedings, particularly in divorce and child custody cases, serves as a crucial document. This report provides a detailed record of the amount of time a child spends with each parent. Understanding how this report functions can help clarify the legal landscape for parents navigating custodial arrangements.

The Purpose of the Report

The primary goal of the Washington Residential Time Summary Report is to ensure that children's best interests are being considered when determining residential time with their parents. This report offers an objective overview of the actual time spent with each parent, which can be used to assess the suitability of current arrangements and inform decisions on potential adjustments.

How It Works

In practice, the report is typically filled out by both parents and sometimes reviewed by a court-appointed guardian ad litem or a family law professional. It includes comprehensive logs of days and nights spent with each parent, holiday schedules, and vacation times. The precise nature of this logging helps to paint an accurate picture of the parenting dynamic and is critical for constructing fair parenting plans.

Legal Implications

The data captured in the Residential Time Summary Report can influence judicial decisions regarding child support obligations, since the amount of time a child spends with each parent is a factor in calculating support payments. Additionally, this report can be used as evidence in disputes over parenting plan compliance or when modifications to existing custody arrangements are requested.

Examples from Case Law

Historically, Washington courts have referenced residential time summary reports in landmark cases to resolve complex custody disputes. For instance, in In re Marriage of McCausland, the court referred to the report to discern patterns in residential time that were not apparent from testimony alone, leading to a more equitable distribution of time between parents.


The Washington Residential Time Summary Report is an indispensable tool for ensuring that children's needs are met following their parents' separation or divorce. By providing a clear record of residential time, it aids all parties involved—parents, attorneys, and judges—in making informed decisions that prioritize children's well-being.