Family Law Services
Divorce vs. Annulment
An annulment is a procedure that removes a marriage by asserting that a marriage never existed and is invalid. A divorce is the conclusion of a lawful marriage that restores both parties to single status. Divorces can be more difficult than annulments depending on the state, particularly when it’s related to custody. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about these family law services and can help you navigate the legal proceedings.
Causes for annulment:
- Forced consent
- Marriage prohibited by law (incest)
- Mental or physical inability
- Inability to sexually validate marriage
- Underage marriage
There are two types of divorce: no-fault and fault. No-fault divorces terminate a legal marriage in which neither party admits blame for the split. A fault divorce is established when one spouse can demonstrate adequate reasons.
Legal justifications for a fault divorce:
- Physical/emotional mistreatment
- Substance abuse or other addictive problems
Assets and Liabilities
Marital property consists of any assets and financial responsibilities that were sustained during the marriage. It normally doesn’t matter whether one spouse or both legally own the asset or liabilities. An experienced family law practice knows how to gather the proper evidence and file the correct pleadings to get you an equitable decision.
Marital property includes:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts
- Real property
- Business interests
- Airline miles
- Credit card debt
A prenuptial agreement (prenup) is a common legal step taken before marriage. It institutes the property and financial rights of both spouses in a divorce, which evades long and expensive quarrels. Prenups are used to defend assets, businesses and separates financial responsibilities. Family law lawyers draft and review prenups to assure that the document will be legally binding and hold up in court if it is ever needed.
Alimony is a monthly spousal support payment made by one spouse to another in accordance with the court. It provides support for the spouse who would have unequal economic effects as a result of a divorce, whether they are a non-wage-earner or lower-wage-earner. Alimony is also determined by age, length of marriage and other economic circumstances during the marriage. With the help of a family law attorney, alimony payments are appropriate for both parties’ financial situation.
Parental rights refer to a parent’s right to make choices about a child’s education, health care and religion among other things. Parents who are given parental rights have custody or visitation rights as well. Child custody will always be decided on the best interests of the child, which could include any of the following circumstances:
- The child’s age, gender, mental and physical health
- Physical and mental well-being of parents
- Lifestyle and social elements
- Love and emotional ties between parent and child
- Parents’ ability to provide food, shelter, clothing and medical care
- Quality of schools in location
- Child’s inclination if over age 12
- Capacity and willingness of parent to nurture a good relationship between child and another parent
- Environmental stability
- Family law practices are experienced in establishing a strong child custody case and arranging reasonable parent time schedules. These are the types of custody arrangements we can create:
- Legal custody: The right and responsibility to make decisions about child rearing. This includes education, religion, medical care and punishment. When given joint legal custody, parents share these rights.
- Physical custody: The right of a parent to have a child with him or her. Most courts order joint physical custody, though the time-split is often different than 50/50.
- Sole custody: Sole custody arrangements provide one parent with complete custody rights and allow the other only visitation rights.
- Joint custody: This custody allows parents to synchronize their schedules and share decision-making responsibility.
- Bird’s nest custody: This happens when the child lives in one home and parents interchange in and out of the home and take turns caring for the child.
Child support is a prearranged monthly sum of money that is paid to the partner with primary custody of the child. It is designated for basic needs like education, housing and health care. The court uses a formula that is centered on financial evidence and the amount of time each parent spends with the child to settle the amount of child support. An attorney that provides family law services will understand every facet of divorce, child custody and child support to give you the best outcome.
Family Law Mediation
Family law mediation is used to clear up family conflicts by having an impartial third-party who encourages amicable agreements. Mediation can more quickly settle disputes, saving the parties’ time and costs associated with the trial. However, if either party feels threatened because there is verbal or physical abuse, they can have a restraining order granted. It restricts contact between you and the abuser to protect you and your child. You can call the police to arrest the abuser if they disobey the mandatory guidelines of the order.
Contact Us for Family Law Representation
Our expert family law lawyers can represent you in any of the wide-ranging legal matters described above. In addition, we have experience representing clients in adoptions when it is the best avenue for their family. The adoption process in Vancouver can be long and complex but a family law attorney can steer your family in the right direction. Brian Walker Law Firm PC has a team of experienced attorneys to assist you with family law services in the Vancouver, WA area. Call us at 360-695-8886 for a consultation.