Estate Planning/Probate

Common Terms   Will Instrument for passing property upon your death.  Without a will, your property generally passes to your family according to rules of descent and distribution. Probate Process for collecting your assets, paying your debt, and transferring your property upon death.  If there is no will, this process is called an estate Administration.  An efficient law firm should be able to handle Probate/Administration with very reasonable, low fees. Estate Tax Federal law and sometimes state law taxes the …

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Domestic Violence(DV)

Legal Definitions DV generally must be between family members, persons who live(d) together or dated; generally you must be physically harmed or put into fear that you will be harmed soon; it is also DV if someone does things to you without a legitimate reason that are very annoying or alarming and it makes you very worried about yourself or your child and has significant harmful effects on you and a normal person would have the same reaction — see …

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Adoption

In Washington, RCW 26.33. and WAC 388-27 govern adoptions.  The adoption must be in the child’s best interest.  There are special laws/rules for Indian Child adoptions and Interstate adoptions.  In a Washington Agency adoption for a foster child, DSHS or its licensee would be the Petitioner and have temporary placement custody pending the final hearing, whereas in a private adoption the adoptive parents are the Petitioners and would have temporary placement.  Step-parent adoptions are often simpler than other adoptions because …

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Paternity/Parentage

Unmarried parties who wish to determine the parentage of the father, establish a residential schedule / parenting plan, or set child support, may do so in this action.  There are many forms, but in a simple case the father has signed a paternity affidavit at the hospital which should be on file with Washington State Department of Health Vital Statistics.  You can call Olympia to check:  1-360-236-4300.  You will need to include a Certified Copy of the Paternity Affidavit in …

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Equal Parenting / Co-Parenting

There is a lot of confusion about this, even among family law attorneys.  In the late 1800's in most jurisdictions the father had an absolute right to child custody because the children were considered to be his property; starting in the 1900's and based upon welfare of the children, the mother was awarded presumptive custody; but for about the last 30 years society has recognized the importance of having both parents involved with raising the children.  See In re Marriage of …

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Divorce Process

Beginning The court fee varies by county but is $280 in King County, WA for filing the Summons and Petition, unless waived.  The filing party (Petitioner) will get a Case Schedule including important deadlines and trial date.  Petitioner will also get FLO (Family Law Orientation) seminar information and Parenting Seminar info.  The filing party must serve a copy of the Summons and Petition, along with Case Schedule and seminar info, on the other party (Respondent).  91 days after both service …

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