Law Offices of Susan Millican O'Brian & Associates, P.S. Law Offices of Susan Millican O'Brian & Associates, P.S.

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Redmond Divorce Law Blog

How inheritance is handled in divorce

Some Washington couples may be wondering what happens to their inheritance if they get divorced. It is important to know that what the inheritor has done with the inheritance may have a very direct impact on the answer to that question. The biggest factor is commingling, or the mixture of personal and marital assets.

Most people will bring some of their outside wealth into a marriage. By definition, any premarital assets are considered to remain the property of the spouse unless they are somehow commingled with martial property. For example, if one spouse had a savings account before the marriage and transferred the money into a joint account after the marriage, then that money would be considered martial property. The same idea holds true for inheritance. So long as the inheritance document names one spouse only, then that inheritance is personal property unless it becomes commingled.

Challenging paternity in Washington

Filing a suit to challenge a child's paternity is similar to one establishing it. Either parent may initiate the suit, but the court requires valid grounds for the suit. If the couple was married at the time of the child's birth, the discovery that the man is sterile or that the woman was unfaithful are grounds for challenging it. The only other grounds for challenging paternity include tainted, tampered or fraudulent lab results.

After either party files the complaint challenging paternity, the court may order DNA tests for the father and child. It will also seek additional evidence to determine the child's actual father, which could include voluntary acknowledgement by the actual father. At the end of the hearings, the court will name the father in an order, and the parties must meet to establish custody and child support arrangements.

How we can help you divide your divorce assets fairly

When it comes to complex asset division during contested divorce proceedings, our attorneys have successfully provided fair solutions to our clients throughout the state of Washington. Because of our experience, we have a thorough understanding of the state laws which require the courts to distribute all assets involved in a divorce proceeding. Whenever substantial assets are involved, it takes a qualified group of attorneys to do this successfully.

Our law firm has handled a variety of divorce cases ranging from families with successful businesses to those with who own properties presenting challenging and complex legal situations. We have represented a wide range of clients including highly skilled executives from many large industries as well as professionals in various careers.

Modification of Washington custody orders

Even after parents divorce and a custody order has been issued by the court, situations arise which necessitate one party to seek modification of the prior order. Sometimes one or both parties have experienced significant changes of circumstances, while others may have a change in work schedule or a planned move that necessitates such a change.

In order to obtain a modification, the parent seeking it must be able to prove to the judge one of several things. Obviously, if the parties agree to the requested change and it is in the best interests of the child to do so, the court will grant it. However, in many cases an agreement to a change is not available to the moving party.

Understanding property division in Washington

In the state of Washington, there is no set way to determine how property is divided. In making a property division ruling, the judge overseeing the case must take many factors into consideration. These factors include the financial standing of each spouse as well as how long the two were married. A court may also take any other special factors into consideration if necessary.

When determining the financial situation of each person, a judge will first look to see if each party is employed. If not, a judge will look to see if an unemployed person is collecting income from social security or a pension. In making a ruling, a custodial parent may be entitled to keep the family home regardless of his or her financial situation. This will be done to ensure that a child does not have to move from his or her home.

Acknowledgement of paternity

In Washington, unmarried parents can sign a Paternity Acknowledgement to show the courts the identity of the biological father. If the mother was married or in a recognized relationship and a different person is acknowledging paternity, the presumed person will need to sign a Denial of Paternity as they are thought to be the biological father of the child. If both documents are not filed with the Department of Health, the new paternity will not be valid.

A Paternity Acknowledgment can be signed at a hospital, clinic or under the eye of a midwife. The paperwork should then be notarized and submitted to DOH. However, the form can be filed through the county or through a Division of Child Support office. The parents will need to pay the related fee and have the form notarized before they return it to DOH. Even minors can follow this procedure; they will be expected to understand the form just as legal adults are.

Child custody and parenting plans

For divorcing couples in Washington and across the country, one of the most challenging aspects of the divorce process is the effect that it will have on the couple's children. Issues of child support and custody can be highly charged for divorcing parents, but as a general rule, states will award custody based upon what is in the child's best interests, and Washington is no exception. Whether a state awards sole or joint custody to a mother, father or both, a custody case must have a proposed parenting plan approved by the court before any final order is issued.

The purpose of a parenting plan is to ensure a stable and healthy environment for the child. In order to best achieve this purpose, a parenting plan must provide for the child's physical well-being and emotional stability. In addition, the plan needs to provide for the child's changing needs as he or she grows and matures, ultimately minimizing the need for future modifications to the child custody plan.

Pursuing protection orders in Washington

In the state of Washington, a judge can issue a protective restraining order when there is cause to believe that a person suffers from domestic violence. These orders might also be issued in cases that involve risk of any other act that involves violence, force or threats, especially when the person fears death, bodily injury or sexual assault.

There are two types of protective orders. An Ex Parte Order protects a person for up to 14 days or until a hearing on the charge, and a Final Order for Protection lasts up to one year. The final hearing will be 14 days or few from the date that the temporary order was issued.

How can paternity be established in Washington?

King residents may wish to know about the laws surrounding establishing paternity in Washington. There are a few different methods, with each one being appropriate depending on certain factors.

Under the laws of the State of Washington, there are four ways for a parent to establish paternity of their child. If the biological father marries the child's mother prior to the birth of the child, then there is a presumption of paternity. This may also apply when the couple is in a registered domestic partnership. The father may also sign an official form called a Paternity Acknowledgement which will then make him the legal father of the child. In cases where there is already a presumed father, that man will have to sign a Presumed Parent's Denial of Paternity in order for the actual father's Paternity Acknowledgement to be valid.

Laws considered to separate guns and domestic abusers

Like many places in America, Washington is no stranger to domestic violence. Now legislation is being considered at the federal level that would affect convicted abusers and their ability to procure a firearm. There are many proponents of this legislation and wide popular support for these reforms.

Unmistakable links between domestic violence, firearms and homicide have been demonstrated. Over 60 percent of all American women killed with a firearm were murdered during a domestic violence incident. The statistical likelihood of a homicide during a domestic violence incident increases significantly when there is a gun present. These correlations are cause for a wide group of Americans to advocate legal reforms to remove firearms from the presence of known abusers.

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