LGBT Divorce and How Issues are Different and Similar

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down the landmark decision of Obergefell v. Hodges, which determined that the Fourteenth Amendment required states to recognize same-sex marriages.  This means that no state may deny a same-sex couple the right to marry.  Along with same-sex marriage, however, also comes same-sex divorce.  Same-sex divorces have some of the same issues as heterosexual Read More

What if I Cannot Meet My Financial Obligations Under My Divorce Decree?

At the end of every divorce, a decree of dissolution of marriage will be entered with the court, i.e., a divorce decree.  This decree is a court order which sets out the rights and responsibilities for you and your spouse in terms of the following: Division of assets, debts, and personal property; Alimony (called spousal maintenance in Washington); and Miscellaneous issues. Also, a child support order Read More

Domestic Violence and Child Custody

Domestic violence may come in many forms, including physical, emotional, financial, and  sexual violence.  In the United States, nearly 20 per minute may be victims of some form of domestic violence.  The best interests of the child is the guiding principle in many child custody cases in Washington.  (A different standard exists for non-parental custody, i.e., “third party,” and relocation, cases.)  Domestic violence Read More

What’s Worth Fighting Over

Emotions run high in divorces and custody cases.  A situation that otherwise would have been resolved quickly and amicably can quickly turn hostile when spouses get angry and resentful, as can so often happen during a family law case.  Spouses often have the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to “win” the divorce case by fighting to be awarded as much property or visitation as possible, but the plain truth is that not Read More

Timing of a Child Support Modification

After a child support order is entered, it is not uncommon for one or both parents to later want to reexamine the child support amount.  As a child’s needs change or a parent’s income changes, a modification of a child support order may be appropriate or necessary.  In Washington, strict requirements exist as to when such a request may be made with the court and in what way.  Before filing a child support Read More

Special Custody Issues for Special Needs Children

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every 68 children is on the Autism spectrum.  Statistics show that 40 to 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.  As such, it should come as no surprise that many divorces and child custody disputes involve children with special needs.  Special needs children often have extra issues that parents need to be aware of when crafting a custody Read More

When Should You Mediate Your Divorce?

Although the divorce rate seems to always be increasing and “contested” child custody cases feel exceedingly common, the majority of family law cases are settled out of court.  Some cases settle on their own, but many cases go to mediation.  Mediation is a process during which spouses/parents work out their differences with the assistance of a neutral third-party person called a mediator.  Mediation is an exceedingly Read More

What to Do When the Other Party Has Disappeared

Any lawsuit, whether in family law or another area of civil law, must begin the same way. A complaint or petition is filed with the appropriate court and then the papers must be properly served on the defendant.  (In family law cases, the defendant is referred to as the respondent.) Usually the papers are served by "personal service," which means that the respondent is the one to be handed the papers by a law Read More

Violations of the Parenting Plan

Sharing parenting time and co-parenting with a former spouse or partner can be challenging at the best of times. These challenges become infinitely more complicated and difficult where your former partner violates a parenting plan which is a court order. Strategies for handling the situation can vary widely depending on the type of violation and your goal. Whether the violation is intentional is an essential Read More

Family Pets and Divorce

Pet ownership is exceedingly common in the United states with nearly 80 million households having dogs, cats, or other pets. Many people think of their pets as members of the family, so if the family is going to be divided by divorce, the issue of what will happen to the family pet becomes a central issue. Washington law considers pets to be personal property, and the decision on what will happen to the pet after a Read More