Articles Posted in Family Law

Family law clients are often surprised to hear that family law attorneys actually prefer to litigate or negotiate with a represented other party as opposed to a pro se other party (a.k.a. unrepresented party).  This article discusses some of the potential pitfalls of working with unrepresented parties.  Most of the pitfalls contribute to these types of cases taking more client and attorney resources than cases where both parties are represented.

Most of the time, pro se parties do not know all of the rules and procedures for this type of case.  It is difficult to work with someone who does not know the court rules, applicable laws, and strict timelines that are part of our daily work as family law attorneys.  Sometimes, we deal with pro se opposing parties that do not turn things in on time or otherwise confuse court rules and are given a pass by the commissioner or judge because they are pro se.  This is frustrating to clients and attorneys alike.   Continue reading

While it might be surprising to to read a law firm telling you about circumstances when you may not need an attorney or want to seek court action to respond to a difficulty in your life, it actually serves both the clients’ interests and an attorneys’ interests to consider when court action may not be necessary.  The overriding rule is that if a client is going to spend more (time, energy, resources) than they stand to gain, it’s only worth litigating an issue if the principle is important enough that spending additional money on attorneys’ fees and legal costs is justified.  Any potential litigation requires an attorney to do a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the potential benefit of litigation outweighs the potential risk and resources expended.

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January is a busy time for family law attorneys.  The stress of the holidays seems to make an already unhappy marriage even unhappier, and in January, people vow to never spend another holiday with their soon-to-be-former spouse.  While we understand that this issue can feel very urgent, and sometimes it is, we also hope people consider how best to prepare their children, finances, and themselves for what is to come.  Below please find some issues to consider before rushing to the courthouse to file your petition. Continue reading

Parents sharing a child’s residential time under a court order (like a residential schedule or parenting plan) should be aware of the requirements of the relocation provisions of RCW 26.09.  That chapter of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) requires that under certain circumstances a residential parent relocating the child must give notice prior to the relocation.  Parents are sometimes confused about what circumstances require them to provide such notice.  Continue reading

We spent a lot of time on this blog discussing Washington families dealing with marital dissolutions and life after a divorce, but what about families where the parents were never married and/or never intend to marry each other?  How does Washington family law affect these families?  This post discusses some of the issues that arise in families where marriage is not intended, desired, or included. Continue reading

Many of our family law clients are dealing with their first court case of their lives.  They are nervous and intimidated about what the court process will be like, what they should wear, how they will be expected to act, and what they should say.  We hope with this article to avoid one of the common sources of anxiety: what to wear on your day(s) in court.  While you should take the advice of your attorney, there are some basic rules of thumb that apply to most court appearances: Continue reading

When people end their romantic relationship with their children’s other parent, they often feel as though they will never want to have a romantic relationship ever again.  The reality is, after the emotional pain and adjustment period is over, most people do decide to date.  Some choose to date seriously and look for another committed relationship, while other unmarried parents decide to date casually.  No matter what your intentions are in your dating life, it is important that you consider if and when you will introduce your new significant other to your children.  Here are some strategies that might help you decide if, when, and how to introduce your kids to a new love interest: Continue reading

Many things change for a person who gets divorced: marital status, financial situation, and relationships with children to name a few.  Another thing that might change is the person’s last name.  While in comparison to moving, having less time with kids, and having to divide most of your assets, changing a last name might not seem like a big deal, for many people actually faced with the situation, it is.

There are many reasons why people who are getting divorced decide to keep their married last name.  It is important for people to know that whatever the reason you want to change or decide not to change your last name name, it is up to you.  It is not mandatory for a person to change their married name upon dissolution of marriage.  Here are a few of the reasons people choose not to change their married last names: Continue reading

Past blog posts have discussed tips for helping children of two-home families deal with the holiday season and spending holidays away from one of their parents.  Today’s post discusses another group of people affected by a two-home family: the extended family.  Oftentimes, divorced (or otherwise unmarried) parents hope that all their extended family will be able to attend the holiday get together the years they have their children.  Unfortunately, when scheduling with the extended family there can be added confusion, hurt feelings, and headache for divorced parents.  Fortunately, there are things you can do to help the holidays run more smoothly and help your kids get to see as many members of their extended family as possible.   Continue reading

In family law cases, people are often confused and worried about whether or not they have to have a trial.  Many are  nervous about testifying, the judge being mean, and/or having to sit across from the opposing party.  Trials can be stressful, intimidating, and not conducive to a harmonious co-parenting relationship.  Fortunately, there are other options for concluding a family law case that do not involve a trial.  Here are a few ways that family law cases can be settled without the need for a trial: Continue reading