Family Law

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  1. Division of Property
    All property, community and separate, will be brought before the court for a "just and equitable distribution."

    The court will consider the nature and extent of the community and separate property, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each party.
  2. Parenting Plan
    • A parenting plan is based on the best interests of the child. The plan will include:
    • 1. dispute resolution process;
    • 2. allocation of decision making authority;
    • 3. residential schedule providing time with each parent;
    • 4. designation of custodial parent pursuant to federal requirements; and
    • 5. any applicable limitations on contact.
  3. Maintenance
    -Maintenance is based on the standard of what is considered "just" in light of the needs of one party and the ability to pay of the other.

    -Court will consider financial resources of the parties, standard of living during the union, duration of union, and age, physical and emotional conditions, and employability of parties.

    -WA favors "rehabilitative maintenance" for a period of time to allow the recipient to obtain additional education or employment skills.
  4. Child Support
    -WA has adopted a mandatory child support schedule based on the ages of the children and the income of each parent.

    -The duty to support continues until 18 or emancipation. Support may be required to continue to pay for higher education, depending on family expectations.

    -Step-parents are responsible for child support during the pendency of the dissolution.

    -CS is enforceable as any other judgment, and can include wage assignment.
  5. Temporary Relief
    Temporary parenting plan, child support, maintenance, and division of debts may be granted by petition for temporary relief during pendency of dissolution if immediate need is present.

    TRO also available to maintain status quo.
  6. Modification
    -Maintenance, child support, and parenting plan may be modified based on a substantial change in circumstances.

    -Division of property and liabilities is not modifiable (but can be overturned if invalid).
  7. Tax Ramifications
    -No tax ramifications for child support, division of property and liabilities.

    -Maintenance is deductible by payor and taxable income to payee.
  8. Attorney's Fees
    Attorney's fee can be awarded based on fairness considering the income and assets of parties.
  9. Visitation Rights of a Non-Parent
    A non-parent may petition the court for visitation rights only as part of an on-going legal action between parents, but cannot bring an independent action for visitation. The court may order or modify visitation rights when in the "best interest of the child."

    The petitioner must show a signification relationship with the child.
  10. Establishing Paternity
    The parent-child relationship is governed by the Uniform Parentage Act, as adopted by WA.

    The legal relationship between parent/child does not depend on the marital status of the parents.

    A court may order genetic testing to determine paternity.

    Paternity is rebuttably presumed if child born in marraige, adopted, signed acknowledgement, born w/i 300 days of termination or separation.
  11. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
    Where there is a dispute as to jurisdiction for an initial decree or modification, WA uses the UCCJEA to determine the child's home state.

    The home state is where the child lived with a parent for at least six months consecutively before commencement of the proceeding.

    The home state has jurisdiction over the proceeding.
  12. Common Law Marriage
    WA does not provide for common law marriages, but will recognize a CL marriage that was valid in another state.
  13. Committed Intimate Relationships
    CIRs are stable relationships evidenced by continuous cohabitation, duration of the relationship, purpose of the relationship, pooling of resources and services for mutual benefit, and intent of the parties.
  14. How to Obtain Decree of Dissolution
    WA is a no fault state and only an assertion that the marriage or domestic partnership is "irretrievably broken" is required.

    A 90 day waiting period begins after the petition is filed before the final decree can be entered.
  15. Declaration of Invalidity
    A DoI may be sought based on incapacity, force or fraud, the age of the party, or prior undissolved marriage/partnership.
  16. Finality of Adoption
    WA has policy of finality and stable homes for adopted children. Adoptions may not be challenged by person alleging paternity based on lack of notice or other defects in proceeding.
  17. De facto Parentage
    Determined by 4 part test, based on interest of child: natural or legal parent consents to and fosters relationship, petitioner and child live together in same household, petitioner assumed obligations of parenthood without financial compensation, and relationship sufficient length to establish bond with child.
  18. Standard for Relocation
    If Majority-time parent wishes to relocate child, 60 days notice required and other parent must file any objection within 30 days after service. Rebuttable presumption that relocation is allowed.
  19. Domestic Violence
    Domestic Violence Prevention Act provides for immediate protection order against party committing DV with hearing to be set as soon as possible.
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Family Law
Family Law
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