Battle Ground Family Law and Divorce Lawyers
Helping Washington families move forward when a marriage or relationship is over
Many marriages just don’t work out. Spouses grow apart. Some spouses develop relationships with others. Financial troubles can sink a marriage. Many times, spouses just need to move in different directions. When divorce is inevitable, you need financial and emotional protection for yourself and any children you have. You need to know where you’ll live, how the bills will be paid, and who will raise your beautiful daughters and sons.
At Philbrook Law Office, PS, our Battle Ground family lawyers have been helping families through the stress and anxiety of divorce for years. We review your economic situation, your family needs, and your personal goals. We then explain your options, Many divorce and custody disputes can be settled amicably so that you’re formally divorced, your property needs are met, and you and your child receive the support you deserve. We also help craft parenting plans that focus on the best interest of your children.
What are the key parts of a divorce in Battle Ground?
Washington is a no-fault divorce state. There’s no need to prove grounds for the divorce. Spouses can be divorced after a 90-day waiting period if they agree to any open issues. If the spouses can’t reach an agreement on the division of property, spousal maintenance, parenting plans, and child support, then we work to resolve this type of contested divorce in the following ways:
- Negotiation between the attorneys for the spouses
- A collaborative divorce
- A court hearing before a family law judge
It may take months or more to resolve the open issues. During this time, spouses are entitled to temporary orders to protect their interests and their children. Our Battle Ground family lawyers help resolve or litigate temporary:
Parents need to create parenting plans and abide by child support orders. There is a lot to do, and you’re going to need an advocate on your side to make sure you and your children have the best possible chances in your new lives. Our lawyers have the experience and resources to resolve high asset cases and high-conflict cases – and everything in between.
Who gets what: a look at property division in Washington State
Washington uses community property laws to decide which assets and debts should be divided. Generally, both spouses have claims to everything they acquired during the marriage. There are exceptions if there are prenuptial agreements. If you have a prenup, then the prenup controls what property is distributed and how.
There are also exceptions for property either spouse owned before the marriage, property received through inheritances or gifts, and other exceptions our family lawyers will explain.
The community property is divided equitably. While the starting point is a 50/50 split, the distribution percentage can shift based on the following equitable factors:
- How long the spouses were married or the domestic partners lived together
- The type of community property
- Any separate property
- “The economic circumstances of each spouse or domestic partner at the time the division of property is to become effective, including the desirability of awarding the family home or the right to live therein for reasonable periods to a spouse or domestic partner with whom the children reside the majority of the time.”
There’s a lot to analyze and understand when dividing property.
- Some spouses may try to hide property. We work to discover all the real property, business interest, retirement benefits, personal belongings, and other assets, income, and debts each spouse has.
- The value of the assets needs to be determined. Often appraisers are used to value real and personal property. The value of business assets often requires hiring experienced business value experts.
- How the property should be divided. After the percent of property determination is made, our lawyers often fight to craft solutions to protect your financial interests. For example, we may recommend giving up your rights to your spouse’s retirement benefits so you can keep your home instead of selling it.
How do parenting laws work in Battle Ground?
Washington doesn’t have terms like custody, visitation, legal custody, or shared custody. Instead parents are required to prepare a parenting plan. The plan must detail:
- Where the child lives each day of the year – including holidays, birthdays, and vacations
- How disputes, transfers of the child, and other contentious issues will be resolved after the divorce is final
- How the parents will address issues such as the child’s education, religious upbringing, medical needs, and other short-term and long-term needs
Parent plans need to consider which parent works and when, the current school the child attends, and other common family issues that affect children.
When the parents can’t agree on a parenting plan, our skilled Battle Ground lawyers argue your interests and concerns before the family law judge. The judge will draft his/her own parenting plan.
When children are older, they may offer input into the parent plan details.
How does Washington calculate child support?
Like many states, Washington generally focuses on the income of the parents. Battle Ground uses a state support calculator to determine the amount of child support based on:
- The parents’ combined income
- How many children there are
- The ages of the children
- The time each child spends with each parent
Some adjustments may be made if a child has special needs. Orders may change if there is a major change in one of the key factors.
When can a spouse be awarded spousal maintenance (alimony)?
There are three types of spousal maintenance in Washington:
- Temporary support. This type of support helps ensure any settlement or dispute is resolved on the merits and not because of the economic misfortunes of any spouse.
- Short-term maintenance. Often, one spouse works or goes to school while the other spouse stays home to raise a family. This support type helps the stay-at-home spouse or domestic partner get an education or learn new job skills so he or she can live independently.
- Long-term maintenance.Some spouses have no ability to earn a living due to a disability or for other reasons. Long-term maintenance may be awarded – but usually just for spouses who have been married a long time.
If either spouse marries or dies, then the alimony should end – if the other spouse requests that it end.
Seasoned Battle Ground divorce lawyers serving Washington and Oregon clients
At Philbrook Law Office, our Battle Ground lawyers understand how difficult divorces are. Let’s be honest. They’re painful – both financially and emotionally. Our skilled family and divorce lawyers handle the stresses for you so you can focus on figuring out what you and children need, and how you are going to be happy when all the contested issues are resolved. To schedule a free consultation at our office in Battle Ground, WA, please call 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. We’ll help you gain your confidence back. We maintain another office in Vancouver, WA, and also represent clients in Portland and throughout Oregon.