Category: Family Law

  • Financial Abuse and Exploitation of Older Adults

    The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) reports1 that financial abuse and exploitation is a rapidly increasing form of elder abuse in the United States. Financial elder abuse occurs anytime another individual wrongfully or fraudulently takes money or property from an elderly adult. Financial abusers can be strangers, caretakers, or even trusted family members or friends. No matter who commits the financial abuse, they often substantially deplete the estate of their victim, taking assets that would belong to rightful beneficiaries upon the death of the victim. There are numerous financial abuse tactics, including sweepstakes schemes, convincing the victim to sign a Power of Attorney2 to gain access to accounts, Medicare scams, intim

  • The “Best Interests of the Child” Standard

    Child custody questions may arise out of divorces, paternity suits, or later issues if a parent's capabilities are questioned or a parent wishes to modify an existing custody arrangement. Courts will make child custody decisions based on what is in the “best interest of the child.” What factors does a court consider? Washington law requires that courts use the best interests of the child standard in making parenting determinations, however the law is not very specific in setting out particular factors that should be considered in deciding exactly what arrangement is in a child's best interest. Courts may generally take into consideration any factor they find relevant to the situation. Some factors that are generally considered include the followi

  • Reasons To Consider a Prenuptial Agreement

    When you are getting married, it is likely that you expect the marriage to last a lifetime and chances are slim that you want to plan ahead for a divorce. For this reason, many couples opt to not draft a prenuptial agreement1 (also known as a premarital agreement or “prenup”). While a prenuptial agreement is not necessary in every case, there are certain situations in which it is best to protect yourself with this type of an agreement. A prenuptial agreement can set out guidelines for what will happen in the event that you and/or your spouse wishes to dissolve the marriage.2 The following are certain instances in which you want to discuss a prenuptial agreement with an attorney: You have substantially more wealth or significantly greater earn

  • Child Support Modifications in Washington

    Child support orders are based on calculations involving the income and qualified expenses of each parent and a specific schedule set out by state law.1 However, as we all know, income and expenses can change significantly over time. If one or both parents experience such a change before the child reaches age 18, the existing child support order may no longer be fair or appropriate. In such cases, a parent can petition the court2 to modify the existing order.  When will a modification be granted? Courts will not simply grant modifications any time they are requested, however, or based on minor changes in a parent's situation. If they did, the family courts would be constantly filled with cases based on small changes in income that do not necessarily

  • Types of Guardianship Disputes

    When an adult becomes incapacitated, they may require another individual to make legal decisions for them. Guardians can handle personal, legal, and financial affairs, as well as making decisions for physical health and well-being. The court must approve a guardianship and the guardianship usually remains effective until the incapacitated person regains competency or passes away.  In many situations, adults have planned ahead and chosen someone who is capable and trusted to serve as a guardian if necessary. For this reason, many guardianships proceed with little to no trouble. However, in other cases, legal disputes may arise regarding a guardianship, and require legal assistance by a probate attorney. Common issues in disputes Guardianship di

  • Who Is Responsible For Student Loans After Divorce?

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has reported1 that individuals in the United States owe more than $1 trillion in federal student loan debt. Because so many people have taken out loans to fund their education, it is not a surprise that numerous married couples are repaying student loans for at least one spouse, if not both. During marriage, couples tend to mingle finances and work together to pay down debts. However, if you or your spouse decides to file for divorce, you may find yourself suddenly facing a mountain of debt on your own. Many people wonder whether or not the responsibility of paying student loans off will be shared following a divorce. The answer to this question depends on your particular situation, and an experienced f

  • Divorce & Mediation

    Seattle Divorce & Mediation Attorney How can a mediator help with my divorce? Ending your marriage is not as simple as just requesting that the court grant a divorce. There are many different issues that must be settled before a court will officially dissolve your marriage. These issues include how you will divide your property, how you will divide your debts, how you will share parenting responsibilities and time with your children, whether one spouse will pay child support to the other, or whether one spouse will have to pay spousal support—otherwise known as alimony or maintenance—to the other. Not surprisingly, many divorcing couples are not on the best terms and may have trouble agreeing on these issues. If a couple cannot agree, the Wash

  • Stay off Social Media during your Divorce

    These days, almost everyone has a social media presence. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, or any other similar site, the information that you post can often be seen by a large number of people. If you are going through a divorce, you should always be extremely careful about anything you post on any type of social media, and the best bet is often to avoid posting anything at all until your divorce is finalized. How social media can be used against you Especially in a contentious divorce, your spouse may be looking for evidence to use against you so he or she can receive a better outcome. Because many of us share a substantial amount of information online, social media profiles are often gold mines for divorcing spouses. Social medi