Family Law Lawyer Gig Harbor, WA

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

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.

Modifications

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.

 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. 

Custody/Visitation Changes

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.

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.