Most courts in Washington state favor circumstances in which children of divorcing parents can maintain loving relationships with both parents. They also want parents to continue to be active participants in the lives of their children. However, the tasks of family law judges can become particularly challenging if the parent with primary child custody wants to relocate to a different area or another state.
When Washington couples decide to end their marriages, they will have different options to consider. One of the options available under family law is a legal separation. While they will remain married, they will be divorced from bed and board. Any property acquired after the date of the separation agreement will be regarded as non-marital assets.
Navigating a Spokane divorce is rarely easy, and when there are children involved, it becomes even more challenging. While each parent might be overwhelmed by the need to ensure stable post-divorce financial situations, family law first focuses on the physical and emotional needs of the children. The best interest of a child is the primary focus of judges, and they typically address a number of factors when making child custody rulings.
Sometimes, changing circumstances can cause carefully worked out child custody plans to become ineffective. For that reason, family law allows parents to petition the court for modification of child custody orders. Parents whose relationship remains amicable could even negotiate changes, and then present the proposed alterations to a Washington court for approval -- as long as they are in the best interest of the child involved.
It is often reported that January is the month in which many people file for divorce. Some family law attorneys say that the holidays might be the final straw in marital relations that are already scarred. In other cases, couples with children postpone the filing to avoid spoiling the celebrations for their children. Regardless of the reason or when a divorce is filed in Washington, one or both spouses might be concerned about hidden assets and bank accounts.
Washington is a community property state in which all assets accumulated by the couple during their marriage considered to be owned equally by each partner, and subject to property division in the event of a divorce. This community property concept also applies to debts. One of the frequently asked questions for family law attorneys involves gifts that the spouses gave each other during the marriage.
Once the divorce is final, and a child support order is issued, it is far from over because children will tie parents together for quite a few years and perhaps the rest of their lives. Divorced parents in Washington know that life goes on and circumstances change. Job losses, illnesses, remarrying and the increasing needs of children as they grow older may create the need for modified child support orders. Fortunately, the family law court understands this, and parents with documents to substantiate claims of changed circumstances may file petitions for modifications.
Anyone in Washington who is concerned about the welfare, health or safety of a child can report it to Child Protective Services. As soon as such a report is filed, family law requires CPS to investigate the circumstances in the home where the child lives. If CPS finds any reason to suspect that harm may come to the child, it will evaluate the situation to determine whether there is a viable option to improve the child's safety.
When marriages end in Washington, couples who have children usually have a lot to learn. Many myths exist about child support, child custody and other family law matters. Rather than relying on information obtained from the internet or friends and family, it might be smarter to get answers from experienced legal counsel.
Divorce in Washington does not remove the responsibility of a parent to support his or her child. Family law requires even a noncustodial parent who relocates and has limited contact with the child to share the support until the emancipation of the child. Fortunately, most parents want what is in the best interest of their children when marriages end.