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Federal Way Divorce Law Blog

Choose the state in which you file for divorce wisely

If you research how to get a divorce without typing in any additional search terms, then you'll likely come across a lot of information mentioning how you're required to file for divorce in the state where you maintain legal residency. This rule of thumb doesn't necessarily apply to you if you're in the military or married to someone who is. Service members and their spouses often qualify to file for divorce in not just one, but three different states.

A service member is generally entitled to file for divorce in either the state where they're stationed or the one where they maintain a legal residence. A civilian spouse can submit their petition for a dissolution of the marriage in the state where they legally reside as well.

As a grandparent, is it possible to get custody of the grandkids?

You have a very special relationship with your grandchildren. You love them, support them and you try to maintain an active role in their lives. In some cases, you may feel like it is your duty to take care of them all of the time, and that may mean trying to seek custody. This can be a very difficult undertaking for adults who are not the biological parents of the kids. 

If the parent is unfit in any way, you may find it necessary to step in and fight to protect the best interests of your grandkids. When considering a case involving grandparent custody, the court will look at various factors to determine what is best for the kids. Seeking custody will not be an easy process, and you will find it beneficial to work with an experienced Washington attorney at every step.

Issues that may lead to divorce in Washington and beyond

When two people in Washington decide to get married, they undoubtedly expect their relationship to last a lifetime. While the overall divorce rate has declined in the United States in recent years, there are numerous issues that are often key factors in decisions to end a marriage. No matter what specific reasons may lead to a split in a particular case, the stronger of a support network built from the start, the less stressful proceedings might be.

Studies show that the younger spouses are when they marry, the greater the chance their marriage may end in divorce. Education level is also significant, with higher educated spouses staying married more often than those with a high school education or less. In lower-income households, marriages are also at greater risk for divorce. Such issues are common factors in many divorces; however, there is no way to know for sure whether a particular issue will or will not cause irreversible damage in a specific marital relationship. What one couple is able to rebound from may be the straw that breaks the camel's back for another couple.

The warning signs of parental abduction

You've heard of bitter divorces, but absolutely nothing prepared you for how bad your own divorce would be. Your spouse's reaction was unlike anything you'd ever seen before. At this point, you're no longer sure you ever knew your spouse at all -- and you definitely don't know how far they're willing to go just to hurt you.

That makes sharing custody very difficult. Every time you have to hand the kids over to their other parent for visitation, you're worried that your spouse will suddenly take off with them to parts unknown.

What you need to know about relocation after divorce

If you're a parent who is preparing for divorce, there are several Washington laws that may have significant impact on your child custody agreement. For instance, have you thought about relocation? It's never a good idea to assume that you can pick up and go where you like with your kids after you settle your divorce.

Many custody orders include terms that say one parent must seek the other's approval before relocating with their children. This may even be true if your new location is in the same state as your old. If you're a custodial parent, you typically have to send your ex a notice that states your intent to relocate.

Can your spouse really take everything in a divorce?

You never expected your spouse to turn so vicious during your divorce. They're threatening to take everything and leave you destitute.

Embittered spouses make all kinds of threats, but actually following through on those threats isn't as easy as it sounds. Here's why:

  • Washington is a community property state. That means that all of a couple's property is divided up roughly equally in a divorce.
  • Any separate property you own is protected from division. Separate property can include things like property you owned prior to the marriage, gifts from your spouse, trusts and inheritances.
  • Prenuptial agreements aren't infallible. If your spouse is relying on a prenup to make their threats stick, they may still be misguided. A prenup that is heavily slanted in favor of one spouse over the other can be invalidated by the court. Prenups can also fail for several other reasons.

Should you consider divorce mediation?

Divorce is a difficult and emotionally challenging process. Even when two parties are amicable, it is not easy to resolve disputes and come to a reasonable agreement. You may want to avoid court, yet you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may still have certain issues to work through. In this case, you may consider the benefits of divorce mediation. 

The mediation process involves both parties sitting down with a neutral third-party mediator to work through divorce disputes. This allows you to avoid court, and it can help you avoid some of the stress and complication associated with a divorce. Before you move forward or make any plans regarding your post-divorce future, you may want to discuss the benefits of mediation with your spouse and attorney.

Military divorce: Special rules may apply

In many ways, military families are just like civilian families. In some ways, however, service members, their spouses and children often face particular challenges that arise because of deployment, relocation or other military issues that the average civilian family in Washington or elsewhere may not encounter. When it comes to military divorce, certain regulations or state laws may apply that govern proceedings.

Issues in a military divorce are affected by both state and federal laws. For instance, in property division proceedings, federal law would apply to a service member's retirement benefits and other financial issues. Regarding alimony or child support, however, a family court judge would use state guidelines to approve an agreement or make decisions on behalf of the spouses in question.

What custody interference is

Not all relationships and marriages end on good terms. Former couples may continue to have disagreements with each other even after their relationship has ended. The hostilities may be particularly elevated if kids are involved. This may especially be the case if one parent tries to prevent the other from gaining access to their children.

Any parent that prevents the other from seeing their children may be accused of custody interference. A mom or dad that attempts to withhold child support payments in hopes of gaining more visitation with their kids may also be accused of this same offense.

How are pet issues resolved in a Washington divorce?

It is not at all unusual for Washington married couples to encounter challenges in their relationships that they do not feel they can overcome. In such situations, filing for divorce is a common solution. Doing so typically prompts a decision-making process, involving issues such as where children will live (if a couple has kids), whether the marital house will be sold, as well as whether a parent will pay child support.

Another issue is becoming increasingly common in Washington family courts, and that is how to determine which spouse gets the family pet. Some people say such matters should be resolved through property division proceedings. Others advocate for incorporating pet issues as part of custody proceedings.