My office covers all issues regarding Domestic Relations and Family law. While, your particular issue may not be listed below, there is a very good chance I have had experience with your type of matter.
I deal with dissolutions as well as legal separations. I also work with protection orders as well as anti-harassment and restraining orders. I develop parenting plans for married and unmarried couples as well as work on 3rd party custody arrangements.
If you give me a call and I cannot answer your question, I will find the answer or refer you to a resource that can help you.
The term family law encompasses all aspects of family situations. This includes entry of parenting plans and orders of child support, whether or not the parents have been married, as well as maintenance and asset and debt distribution. Nearly all forms for your family law action can be found on the Washington State Court Forms website. Some forms will be found in your local court forms for the county where you reside. For instance, the form used to place your matter on the court calendar is generally found in your local county court forms. The State forms are designed to assist people in filing and managing their own action.
It is always a good idea to contact a family law attorney for advice. The information found on this site is only intended as a general overview of some of the issues involved in family law and should not be considered an exhaustive overview or relied on for purposes of your family law matter. It is always important to speak with a family law attorney when making decisions about your family law action.
Petitions for Domestic Violence can be found online under Washington State Court Forms. The party seeking a temporary order of protection can fill the forms out online. After the form is filled out, printed and signed, the petitioner takes the petition and their proposed temporary order for protection to the Domestic Violence clerk at the courthouse. The clerk will give you instructions from there to obtain your temporary order of protection. The initial order is a temporary order as it is effective immediately, but only until the date of the hearing for a full, typically one year, protection order. Remember when you are filling out your petition for a protection order to use as many pages as you need to tell your story. The more detailed information you can provide the better.
All cases involving children will require entry of a parenting plan. Parenting plans can be entered by agreement of the parties and signed by the court. Parenting plans are also entered pursuant to either a contested motion before the court or a trial. All children of the parties will be listed in the parenting plan. The parenting plan form will guide you through potential issues in parenting. For instance, if one party has an alcohol or drug problem that issue will be listed and addressed in the parenting plan. The court expects parenting plan to be thorough and provide details as to what days per week the children will reside with each parent including which holidays and vacation periods.
Child custody is outlined in your parenting plan. The parenting plan provides who the child will reside with primarily, meaning the child will spend more time with that parent than the other parent. Many parenting plans provide the children will reside with one parent during the school week and then alternate their time with each parent on the weekends. The parties can decide if they would like their parenting plan to be more of a shared parenting arrangement, for instance a week on week off schedule if that is feasible given a number of factors, such as the distance between each parent’s home and the history of the parents being able to parent together. In many situations, the parents will share joint decision making when it comes to the children. If the parents do not share joint decision making the reasons for sole decision making will be outlined in the parenting plan.
Monthly child support obligations are generally based on each party’s income. Attorneys use a computer program to determine what the amount of child support should be. When you file a motion for child support you will need to fill out and file a financial declaration which can be found on this site. You will also need to submit six months of your pay stubs, the last two years of your tax returns and the last six months of your bank statements. These financial documents need to be filed with a sealed financial source coversheet which can also be found on the Washington State Court forms website.
Parenting Plan Modifications
From time to time, a final parenting plan may need to be modified based on a variety of issues. If a party wishes to modify a parenting plan, after entry of a final parenting plan, that party will need to meet what is known as a threshold for modification. The party wanting to modify the parenting plan will need to file a petition to modify the parenting plan and outline why the parenting plan should be modified. The party will need to also schedule the matter for an adequate cause hearing. At that hearing the party will outline the necessity for a change. This adequate cause hearing is very important. The materials must be thorough and explain clearly why the parenting plan should be allowed to be changed. This is an important step as if the matter it not allowed to proceed beyond the adequate cause hearing, the petition to modify will be dismissed.
Dissolutions are started with a petition and a summons. In King County, once the petition and summons are filed, the parties will receive a trial date. That trial date is generally a year down the road. In Pierce County, when the petition and summons are filed, the parties will be given a date to appear before the assigned Judge and will be given a trial date at that time. Dissolutions may be finalized by an agreement of the parties after 90 days have passed since the filing and serving of the action.
Assests and Debts
Retirements/401k/pensions can be valued in a number of ways. Your attorney will need to go through these issues with you. For very general information purposes, you should be entitled to a minimum of 50% of the value of these accounts accrued during the marriage. Again, this is very general and you should speak to an attorney about your specific matter in order to have a better idea as to what you can expect.
Equity in your home is the value of your home. Equity is determined by taking what your home could sell for minus what is owed on the home. Closing costs and realtor fees may or may not be used to calculate this figure depending on your situation. You should speak to an attorney regarding your specific matter in order to have a better idea as to what you can expect.
You divorce your spouse and not your creditor. Debts incurred during the marriage are generally considered community debts, irrespective of which party’s name the debt is incurred under. Again, an attorney can help you determine what a likely outcome will be when this matter comes before a court.