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Spokane Family Law Blog

How you benefit from filing an uncontested divorce

Getting divorced in Washington isn't easy. In fact, it can be one of the most difficult things you ever have to do. However, a divorce is also a fresh start.

Once you get through ending this marriage, you can move on to a new chapter in your life. While you want to ensure that the outcome of the divorce is fair, you don't necessarily want to have to deal with protracted, drawn-out court proceedings.

How can virtual visitation foster my relationship with my child?

Giving up time with one's child can be the most difficult part of a divorce for a Washington parent. After spending years of their child's life in the same home with them a parent can feel as though a part of their heart is missing when they must live in a place where their child does not reside. When a parent is not granted physical custody rights and does not have the responsibility of meeting their child's day-to-day needs, they may be able to secure visitation rights with them to protect their important relationship.

Visitation can be scheduled or flexible and must meet the best interests of the children it serves. Readers are reminded that as with all matters related to family law and divorce, the outcome of two visitation hearings may look very different depending upon the facts of each matter. Understanding one's visitation options should be brought up with a reader's divorce attorney.

Generational differences affect divorce rates

In generations past it was not uncommon for young Washington residents to head down the aisle toward marriage when they were in their late teens and early twenties. There were many reasons for this phenomenon, including the historic position of women as dependent upon their husbands for financial support and the higher rate of young people entering the workforce instead of pursuing their educations after high school. Now, however, young people have a world of options in front of them when they leave secondary school and are choosing to marry later in life.

This shift has had a dramatic effect on the national divorce rate. According to a recent study undertaken by the University of Maryland, the rate of divorce across the country has dropped by 18 percent between the years of 2008 and 2016 because young Americans are staying together after they wed. As individuals wait to get married and are more confident in who they are before they join legally with others, they are in a better position to maintain lasting, successful marriages.

Custody concerns may arise when people date after their divorce

Getting divorced in Washington can be a fresh start for both you and your former spouse, as well as your kids. While divorce is difficult for children, with time and care from you and your ex, your kids will adjust to the new family situation. They may even flourish without the strain of a contentious parental relationship constantly impacting the mood in the home.

Shared custody or co-parenting arrangements are the most common outcome in Washington divorces, in part because they are usually best for the kids. Parents have to work to cultivate a positive and functional relationship with one another after ending their marriages, for the sake of the children.

A parent's conduct may affect their custody and visitation rights

Like parents, courts that hear family law cases want what is best for the children whose lives are affected by the courts' decisions. In Washington, courts attempt to ascertain the child's best interests before they make orders regarding the custody and support of those youths. Many factors including the children's preferences, the parents' availability and any special familial needs will be factored into the decision-making process.

However, certain parent-based issues can have negative impacts on those parents' rights to secure custody and visitation time with their kids. For example, parents who have histories of drug or alcohol dependence may be viewed as unfit to be the primary caretakers of their children. If they have criminal records, allegations of abuse or neglect in their pasts, or other dangerous elements present in their personal lives then they may not be seen as the individuals best suited to meet their children's needs.

Legal separation is an option for Washington couples

For many individuals who wish to end their marriages, divorce is the clearest and most obvious choice. A divorce severs the binds that a marriage creates and permits once-married individuals to return to their single statuses and live without the commitments to their former partners. However, not all individuals who want to end their marriages choose to pursue divorce.

In Washington and other American jurisdictions, married people can choose to pursue legal separations. A legal separation leaves two people married but effectively separates their lives the way a divorce would. During legal separation proceedings the partners to a couple may work out how they will divide up their property, how they will share in the custody and co-parenting of their kids and if any support will be paid from one of the parties to the other.

Should you hold joint birthday parties after divorcing?

You and your spouse get divorced and you have a 5-year-old child together. During the whole process, you try to put your child first. You set up a joint custody schedule so that the child still gets to see you and your ex, for instance, and you try to make the transition as easy as you can.

While doing this, you run into an important question: What do you do about birthdays? Do you have that celebration together, or is a joint birthday party just asking for trouble?

Red flags: Is your marriage headed for divorce?

You know divorce may happen, but you do not want it to come as a surprise. You are constantly wondering just how strong your relationship really is. Maybe you've heard friends or family members talk about how they thought their marriages were rock-solid until they got blindsided by divorce papers.

To help you, here are a few red flags to watch out for:

How will community property laws affect my divorce?

Washington is a community property state. This means that any property that is considered marital will, in most instances, be split evenly between the two parties to a divorce. Therefore, it is important that readers understand what the state considers to be marital property in order to understand how the community property laws of the jurisdiction will impact their divorces.

Marital property is property that is not separate property. Separate property may include property that a person was gifted and that was not also gifted to their spouse. It may include money or property received exclusively by one party to a marriage through an inheritance. It may also include property that a spouse owned before they got married and that was not later converted to marital property during their marriage.

What to include in a Washington child support agreement

Parents may elect to allow their divorce courts to establish the parameters of their child support obligations, but they may also choose to create their own agreements regarding this important topic. Though courts generally must approve the child support agreements that parents make, parents can smooth this process over by including in their agreements the necessary terms that will bind them. All readers are asked to discuss how child support will be addressed in their legal cases with their attorneys; this post will briefly review some of the elements that child support agreements should cover.

A child support agreement should identify what the child support may be used for in the life of the child. For example, child support generally may be used for providing a child with their basic needs, such as food and shelter. However, access to health insurance, educational expenses, travel needs, extracurricular expenses and other financial concerns should also be included in child support agreements.

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