Family Law Lawyer Gig Harbor, WA
If you have questions about termination of parental rights in Washington, please schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced family law lawyer Gig Harbor, WA residents trust. Consultations do not obligate you to take legal action. Instead, they allow potential clients to ask questions. The process of terminating someone’s parental rights is a serious and sensitive subject. We will treat you and your family with the utmost respect as we help you to understand your legal options and determine the best way forward for any children who may be affected by this process either way.
Terminating Established Parental Rights
Generally, parental rights may only be terminated voluntarily or in the event that one or both of a child’s parents are deemed unfit to care for that child. With that said, every case is different. It is therefore important to speak with an experienced Gig Harbor, WA family law lawyer before making any assumptions about your specific situation.
Generally speaking, if a parent does not wish to terminate their rights voluntarily, the court must be presented with significant evidence that the parent in question has truly failed to provide for their child financially, emotionally, and/or practically. This is a tough standard to meet, as the court generally recognizes a parent’s rights if at all possible. Taking away a parent’s rights is a permanent and very sensitive scenario. However, if a child has been abandoned, subject to severe abuse or neglect, the parent’s severe mental illness renders them incapable of parenting, etc. the court may be left with no other choice than to terminate that parent’s rights. The “best interests of the child” standard, which is the standard applied in child custody determinations, is applied in parental rights termination matters as well.
- Child Custody Guidance Is Available
- Child Support Modification
- How a Family Law Lawyer Can Help You
- Create a Custody Plan
- Six Myths About Divorce
- Custody/Visitation Changes
- Preparing to Divide Your Marital Assets
- Are Any of Your Assets Worth Fighting For?
- Strategizing with Your Attorney Proactively
- Questions You Should Ask Prospective Family Law Attorneys
Child Custody Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about the process of terminating parental rights, please consider scheduling a consultation with the experienced Washington legal team at Robinson & Hadeed today. Speaking with us does not obligate you to take any action whatsoever. Speaking with an attorney will simply allow you to seek answers to the questions you have and allow you the ability to voice your concerns to professionals with experience in this area of law. If you then determine that you could benefit from additional legal support and/or guidance, we can speak about our approach to representation.
The process of terminating parental rights is a serious one. We aim to treat this subject with the greatest of care. Please do not hesitate to reach out at your earliest convenience in order to speak with us about the details of your situation. Once we better understand your needs, our Gig Harbor, WA family law lawyer team will be able to advise you of your legal options and direct you towards relevant resources accordingly.
It is possible for ex-spouses to have a reasonably good relationship with one another; in fact, it is not unheard of for parents to actually get along better after a divorce. Unfortunately, parents in this situation may put off a divorce modification, thinking that it is better to not rock the boat. Yet, what happens when one party suddenly decides to strictly adhere to “the papers” for a good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all? For instance, job relocation? The result may be months of costly litigation which could have easily been avoided by filing a modification action. If you find yourself in this situation, a family law lawyer Gig Harbor, WA clients recommend can help.
Child Support Modification
In most cases, Child support payments must be paid until the youngest child of a marriage turns 18 and has graduated high school. The amount is set at the time of divorce. However, life happens, and a person’s income may increase or decrease for various reasons. Legally, to change the amount of child support, there must be a significant change in circumstances for either one or both of the parents. So, what exactly type of circumstances would qualify?
“Substantial change in circumstances” is a case-by-case determination. Some examples include a change in income of the paying parent, such as a layoff or a job promotion. Changes in the child’s circumstances, such an increase in medical or daycare expenses, may also qualify. The change must be permanent, or at least very long-term, and cannot be one that was anticipated at the time of the prior order.
Keep in mind, however, there are circumstances where the court will most likely deny a request for a support modification. For example, a judge will not consider a claim based on intentional underemployment — for example, a corporate CEO who quits a lucrative job to become a janitor.
There are other circumstances where child support may be modified. A family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA can help determine if your case qualifies for a modification.
How a Family Law Lawyer Can Help You
Going through a divorce can be a really difficult time. Any hopes and dreams you had may have had for your future feel suddenly derailed.
Robinson & Hadeed Family law wants you to know that you can move forward though things will be different. A family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, can help you get your hopes and dreams back on track. Learn a little about how a family lawyer can help you.
Arrange a Pre or Post-Nuptial Agreement
You can work on a pre-nuptial agreement before you are married. A family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, can help you draft this agreement with your spouse. This document will account for all assets and outline distribution in the event of a divorce.
You can create this document after you are married as well. This would be called a post-nuptial agreement.
When the divorce comes around, you may need help to understand your original pre-nuptial agreement. A lawyer from Robinson & Hadeed Family law can help you sort through this agreement. They can also ensure everything is distributed appropriately.
Create a Custody Plan
If there are children involved, then a custody agreement has to be made. This agreement dictates how much custody each parent gets to have with the children when they are minors. Several factors can determine how a custody plan will play out.
Hiring a family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, can represent your best interests when negotiating. There are some circumstances where a custody case has to go to court. A family lawyer is prepared for these scenarios. Hiring an attorney can help you get a good outcome.
Work On Alimony/Spousal Support
Spousal support or alimony requires one spouse to pay the other a certain amount of money. It is supposed to assist a spouse that didn’t work during the marriage or made substantially less. This way they can provide for themselves after the expenses of divorce. Some states have alimony laws in place.
A judge makes the final decision on how much spousal support one should receive. A family lawyer can provide the court with information. They will try and find a good outcome for your situation.
There are lots of complex layers to the divorce process. Know that you are not alone. Finding a family lawyer can help you navigate this difficult time. That way, you can start setting your new goals for your new life.
Six Myths About Divorce
Alimony Is Always Required in a Divorce
Alimony is sometimes required in a divorce, depending on the circumstances of both party’s ability to support themselves. For example, if one spouse is a CEO and the other has stayed home with children for the entirety of their marriage, alimony may be awarded until the stay-at-home parent can get the training needed to get a job to support himself.
My Spouse Is Refusing to Sign the Papers, so I Can’t Get Divorced
As your family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, from Robinson & Hadeed Family Law could tell you, this notion hasn’t been true for some time. Every state has “no-fault” divorce rules on the books. That means that one spouse can file for, and get, a divorce for any reason at all, and there’s nothing the other spouse can do about it. The spouse who doesn’t want a divorce can try to delay the proceedings, but in the end, there’s going to be a divorce.
Happy Couples Don’t Ever Fight
Happy couples often fight. They may even fight often. However, they’re dedicated to making sure their marriage is worth fighting for, and they’re determined to work things out whenever they fight. It’s more likely for unhappy couples not to fight; they’ve either decided there’s no point to it or that they’re filing for divorce anyway, so it doesn’t matter any more.
Child Support Payments End on the Child’s 18th Birthday
Child support sometimes ends on the child’s 18th birthday. Sometimes it doesn’t end until the child turns 21, or graduates from college. The terms of your child support payments will be written into your divorce decree, and is something your family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, at Robinson & Hadeed Family Law can help you negotiate.
The Custodial Parent is Permitted To Relocate With the Kids at Any Time
Either the parents have to agree, or the judge has to issue a modification of the child custody agreement, before the custodial parent can relocate with the kids. The custodial parent does not have free reign in this regard, even if that custody is both physical and legal. A family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, can help you get the living arrangements you want for you and your children.
Only in Criminal Cases Are You Entitled To Free Legal Representation
You probably know from watching TV that someone accused of a crime has the right to an attorney, and to have one appointed if he cannot afford one. The same is true in divorce cases. If you can’t afford a divorce lawyer, you may have one appointed to you.
All of these decisions are based on the best interests of the children. To make that determination, the court may consider the following:
- Substantial change in circumstances: A similar analysis to that used in support modifications applies here.
- Request of child over 12 years of age: The older the child, the more weight the judge is likely to give to the preference; many courts appoint a guardian or attorney ad litem in these cases as well.
- Abuse: In these cases, the moving party must prove that the children are in danger due to a parent or their living environment or that the parent abandoned the children.
Due to relocations and other life events, most custody provisions need to be modified once every three years, at a minimum.
Preparing to Divide Your Marital Assets
Whether you’re still trying to decide if divorce is the best way forward or you and/or your spouse is committed to divorcing, it is time to take some steps that will help you make informed choices about your potential divorce strategy. Preparing for the divorce process in a comprehensive way isn’t a luxury afforded to every individual. But, as our Gig Harbor, WA family law lawyer team can attest, it is a very good idea to be as proactive as you possibly can.
One of the first things you’ll want to do is to make a list of all of your marital assets. Generally speaking, marital assets are any kind of property—including tangible goods, real estate and other investments, financial assets, and intellectual property—that you have acquired over the duration of your marriage. If you can attach estimated values to the items on this list, that can be very helpful as a starting point when starting to construct how you will divide your assets equitably.
Are Any of Your Assets Worth Fighting For?
Any family law lawyer Gig Harbor, WA residents trust with good reason will tell you that there is no “one size fits all” approach to divorce. Yes, embracing a non-contentious approach to the divorce process (mediation, consultation, attorney-led negotiation, etc.) may be far more cost-effective in the short-term than a traditional “courtroom” contentious process. But, does this mean that a non-contentious approach is best for everyone? No. When you are looking at your list of assets, ask yourself very sincerely “Are any of these assets worth taking my spouse to court over?”. Whether the answer is yes or no, what is important is strategizing based on what is true. It is important to have your “musts” vs. your “would really likes” in mind when crafting an approach to your asset division strategy that will meet your needs.
Strategizing with Your Attorney Proactively
You need an asset-division strategy that places your unique asset-related needs, priorities, and goals at the forefront. Any attorney who tries to sell you on a “one size fits all” approach to divorce is selling you something that you don’t want. Our Gig Harbor, WA family law lawyer team will not try to “sell” you anything at all. We’ll work with you to craft a legal strategy that focuses on your unique need for a specific kind of representation.
The more proactive you can be in meeting with us, the better. If you’ve been rushed into this situation, we can handle that. But, if you can meet with us as soon as possible after you’ve begun thinking about divorce, the experienced Washington legal team at Robinson & Hadeed can more fully empower you to make informed decisions about your finances, property, and general approach now that may positively influence your divorce-related and post-divorce realities later.
Gig Harbor Family Law Statistics
According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the most common reasons cited for divorce include:
- Financial issues
- Too much arguing/conflict
- Lack of communication
- Got married too young
- Substance abuse issues
- Domestic violence
- Lack of family support
- Differences in religion
No matter what the reason is for the breakdown of your marriage, make sure to have a skilled family lawyer advocating for you.
Questions You Should Ask Prospective Family Law Attorneys
Will you tell me about your experience practicing law?
If you are interviewing firms, such as Robinson & Hadeed Family Law, in search of a family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA, you need to know how long your prospective attorneys have practiced law in general. Then, you should ask how long they have practiced family law specifically. If you are looking for a family lawyer, you probably have a specific type of case in mind, e.g., divorce, custody, child support, etc., and you need to know how often they work on cases like yours, how long they have worked on these types of cases and how much of their practice deals with this type of law.
You should also ask your prospects about their record on these cases. Do they mostly negotiate, or do they go to trial before a judge? Also, what percentage of their family law cases do they win?
Do You Have the Resources Necessary To Fight My Case?
Once you establish that your family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA has the experience necessary to win your case. You need to be sure that the lawyer and firm have the resources required. For example, do they have the time to commit to the investigation and case preparation? How many cases are currently on their desks? Do they have the backing of a strong law firm, e.g., Robinson & Hadeed Family Law, behind them?
You should also find out who will be working on your case. For example, does your attorney have access to a dedicated paralegal, office staff, investigators, etc.? You also need to know if your case will be handed off to other associates and what type of work they will do for you.
What Is Your Communication Strategy?
When you are in the middle of a lawsuit, open, regular communication is vital. Not only does it give you peace of mind, but it allows you to prepare for the next steps in your case. Your first indication of the firm’s communication priority and its ability to take on your case is how long it takes to return your call for an initial meeting. A reputable family law lawyer in Gig Harbor, WA with the resources necessary to take on your case should take no longer than two business days to get back to you.
In addition, you should ask what the lawyer’s preferred method of communication is. For example, should you expect to receive calls, texts or emails? Also, find out how often you can expect updates. Then, ask how much notice you should expect when you need to come into the office or go into court.
Call Our Office for Legal Assistance
A modification action can avoid costly litigation later. To schedule a consultation with an experienced Gig Harbor, WA family law lawyer, please contact Robinson & Hadeed today.
“I cannot recommend Shannon and her team enough. They held my hand through the entire process of winning my very complicated case. Shannon is knowledgeable and a hard hitter in court. If you need a lawyer you need Shannon on your side.”