Family Law

Washington is a community property state, and accordingly it is most likely the case that a couple will split everything 50/50 when a divorce occurs. There are, however, other issues, such as separate property, property brought with the marriage, inheritance, personal injuries, etc., that can complicate this community property law. The best thing to do if you’re headed into a divorce is to contact an attorney’s office before you file paperwork so that you can be advised of all the latest laws and requirements relative to filing for divorce. Do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of George T. Freeman for a free consultation before you begin divorce proceedings, and you won’t be sorry.

There are several aspects to a divorce: the first, a decree of dissolution; the second, a parenting plan; and the third, an order of child support. Each of these has a significant impact on the remainder of your life, especially if you have minor children.

The decree of dissolution

A decree of dissolution is exactly what it says; it is what the court signs when you are divorced after you have filed a petition asking for certain things. Generally, when someone initially petitions for a divorce, they ask for child support, maintenance, temporary support relative to household payments, car payments, etc. Also, it is not uncommon for the court to frieze the assets of both parties, making it impossible for them to transfer, exchange, or otherwise alter the community’s financial position before the court has a further opportunity to examine the assets and divide them appropriately.

The parenting plan

The parenting plan is probably the most important document in a divorce decree when a couple has minor children. The parenting plan decides who will be the custodial parent, who will pay and receive child support, and also discusses the requirements for medical insurance and other expenses common in raising a children, such as extra-curricular activities, school fees, and other things associated with raising children. The parenting plan decides who will have the children in their presence and when. In a normal parenting plan, one parent is designated the custodial parent, and the other is non-custodial. The non-custodial parent generally pays child support in accordance with the Washington State Child Support Guidelines, and is entitled to visitation based upon what the couple has worked out in their parenting plan. The most common parenting plan includes every other weekend with a few overnights during the week, although the courts have recently awarded custody up to a 50/50 split schedule under certain circumstances.

The order of child support

Child support in Washington is calculated using the incomes of both parties consulted against a chart that designates what percentage of income each of the party earns. Child support increases per the amount of children involved, as well as the amount of income between the parties. In addition to child support, the calculation of child support also takes into consideration uninsured medical expenses, medical insurance paid by the parties, and other financial areas dealing with the monetary side of a separation.

Family Law is an area of the law that deals with family related issues and domestic relations, including but not limited to:

  • the nature of marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships,

  • marriage issues such as spousal abuse, legitimacy, adoption, surrogacy, child abuse and abduction,

  • terminating a relationship through divorce, annulment, legal separation, and/or

  • ancillary matters like property settlements, alimony, parenting plans, etc.