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Family law

The Beetham|Tran Law Firm, PLLC handles all issues related to Family Law. Whether you are establishing parentage, contesting child support, disputing maintenance, fighting for custody, or ending a marriage, family law issues require intelligent and skilled legal consideration. Family Law issues can be complex and confusing. Therefore, it is important for you to obtain legal advice from an experienced attorney.

Our firm will guide you through your family law issues, assisting you in making the right decisions.

Dissolution & Legal Separation Procedure:

In the State of Washington, a Summons and Petition for Dissolution/Legal Separation is required to commence a divorce. These same two documents are required to be filed with the court and served onto the opposing party. If the matter is uncontested, the parties will have to wait 90 days from the time of filing in order to finalize the divorce. The 90 day waiting period is required and not optional. Upon service of the Summons and Petition for Dissolution, the opposing party has 20 days to respond. If the party does not respond, the Petitioner may request the court for a default judgment after the 90 day mandatory waiting period. However, if the other party files a response, then the matter becomes contested. The matter will remain contested until a final agreement is entered by both parties or until determination by a judge at trial. At any time prior to entry of the judgment, the parties are encouraged to resolve their issues through settlement. For instance, the parties could agree on child support payments and property division.

With a contested dissolution or legal separation, the proceeding could last for several months until final orders can be agreed upon or until trial. In the meantime, parties may seek temporary orders from the court. Temporary Orders generally govern the conduct of the parties from the date of the filing until final resolution of the case. For example, if there are children in the marriage, either party may petition with the court to enter a Temporary Parenting Plan until a Final Parenting Plan is agreed to by the parties or ordered by the court. Temporary orders may also provide protection, limit contact among the parties, restrict financials, and provide for maintenance of a party in need, among other things.

Parenting Plan:

If the parties have children, a parenting plan is mandatory. The parenting plan is required before a divorce or legal separation can be finalized. The parties may agree to a parenting plan or propose parenting plans to the court in the event of a dispute. When there is a dispute, the court will determine the final parenting plan. The best interests of the children govern a court’s determination. The parenting plans are required to address the following:

  • Schedule for residential care.
  • Allocation of responsibility for parental decision making.
  • Provisions for the resolution of future disputes between the parents regarding parenting decisions.

Child Support:

Child support is determined by the Washington Child Support Schedule. Generally, The Child Support Schedule is based on the incomes of the parents and the total cost of providing for the children. Child support can be periodically modified to meet changes in the parties’ financial circumstances and the needs of the children. Child support is usually required until the child is 18 years old or graduates from high school. Post-secondary support is not mandatory and usually depends on a child’s educational circumstances and the financial ability of the parents to pay.

Spousal Maintenance:

Spousal maintenance is not always required. It may be awarded if agreed to by the parties or as determined by the court. The court assesses the needs of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay.

In determining spousal maintenance, a court will consider the following factors:

  • Standard of living established during marriage.
  • Duration of the marriage.
  • Financial resources of each party.
  • Work experience and earning prospects of each spouse.
  • Time necessary for the party seeking maintenance to acquire training for becoming employed or self-supporting.
  • Age, physical, emotional, and financial conditions of each party.

Division of Property:

There is no fixed method for determining how property should be divided. In Washington, all assets – real and personal, tangible and intangible – are available for distribution. As a community property state, Washington laws provide for “just and equitable” division of property acquired during a marriage; it does not necessarily require an equal division. Under some circumstances, the court may also apportion separate (or individual) property.

If the husband and wife negotiate an agreement, the court will properly approve it. If no settlement is reached, the court will decide how to divide the property. Property settlement agreements are binding and generally cannot be modified.

Property division is generally made without regard to marital misconduct; instead, a court considers:

  • Nature and extent of community property.
  • Nature and extent of separate property.
  • How long the parties were married.
  • Financial position of each party: whether each spouse is employed and self-supporting; entitlements to social security and profit-sharing plans.
  • Who will be responsible for paying the bills.
  • Special circumstances.

What we can do for you:

If you are facing family legal issues, hiring a skilled family law attorney who knows how to strategically guide you through the process can be extremely beneficial. Having a skilled family law attorney is especially beneficial in cases involving distribution of property and child custody cases. Beetham|Tran can guide you through the process, help you make sound decisions, and provide alternative solutions to your family legal issues.

 
• Renton Office •16627 Benson Rd S • Renton, WA 98055 • Phone: 425.228.1500 • Facsimile: 425.228.1517•
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